Interactions of ginseng with therapeutic drugs

  • Min-Koo Choi
  • Im-Sook SongEmail author


Ginseng is the most frequently used herbal medicine for immune system stimulation and as an adjuvant with prescribed drugs owing to its numerous pharmacologic activities. It is important to investigate the beneficial effects and interaction of ginseng with therapeutic drugs. This review comprehensively discusses drug metabolizing enzyme- and transporter-mediated ginseng–drug interaction by analyzing in vitro and clinical results with a focus on ginsenoside, a pharmacologically active marker of ginseng. Impact of ginseng therapy or ginseng combination therapy on diabetic patients and of ginseng interaction with antiplatelets and anticoagulants were evaluated based on ginseng origin and ginsenoside content. Daily administration of Korean red ginseng (0.5–3 g extract; dried ginseng > 60%) did not cause significant herb–drug interaction with drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters. Among various therapeutic drugs administered in combination with ginseng, adjuvant chemotherapy, comprising ginseng (1–3 g extract) and anticancer drugs, was effective for reducing cancer-related fatigue and improving the quality of life and emotional scores. Limited information regarding ginsenoside content in each ginseng product and plasma ginsenoside concentration among patients necessitates standardization of ginseng product and establishment of pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic correlation to further understand beneficial effects of ginseng–therapeutic drug interactions in future clinical studies.


Korean ginseng Ginsenoside Herb–drug interaction Adjuvant chemotherapy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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© The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of PharmacyDankook UniversityCheon-anRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical SciencesKyungpook National UniversityDaeguRepublic of Korea

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