Can you eat ginseng root?

In this short article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat ginseng root?” with an in-depth analysis of ginseng root, some ways to use ginseng root as well as the health benefits and side effects of eating ginseng root.

Can you eat ginseng root?

Yes, you can eat ginseng root. In fact, ginseng root has long been used to treat various health conditions. It is known to have many health benefits such as boosting brain function and energy, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, relieving stress, promoting relaxation, treating diabetes, and managing sexual dysfunction in men.

Ginseng root can be eaten raw or you can lightly steam it to make it soft. It can also be simmered in water to prepare tea. For this purpose, just add hot water to freshly sliced ginseng root and let it steep for a few minutes.

It can be added to many different recipes such as soups or stir-frys. Also, the extract of ginseng root can be found in tablets, capsules, powdered, and oil forms.

Ginseng root is a herb with a light-coloured, forked-shaped root, a relatively long stalk, and oval green leaves. 

The health benefits of ginseng root 

  • Ginseng root has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a natural appetite suppressant, which makes it useful for weight loss. 
  • Ginseng root can improve the functioning of the lungs by suppressing the bacteria that causes cystic fibrosis. 
  • It is also known to intensify arousal and treat erectile dysfunction. 
  • It helps against fatigue and boost energy levels, for this reason, it is often found in energy drinks.
  • It also helps to control blood glucose levels in both diabetic and non-diabetic people.

The disadvantages of eating ginseng root

Although ginseng root is usually safe to use, some may experience the following bad effects:

  • sleep disturbances
  • headaches
  • digestive issues
  • severe skin reaction
  • diarrhoea
  • rapid heartbeat
  • changes in blood pressure and sugar levels
  • Some women have also reported swollen breasts and vaginal bleeding


Before trying to treat yourself with ginseng root or add it to your diet, ask a licensed herbalist, as ginseng root can interact negatively with a few medicines, including antidepressants, for instance, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Ginseng root can change the effects of medicines used for controlling blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems, such as nifedipine. Do not use ginseng root and heart medicines simultaneously without first asking your doctor.

Ginseng root can also enhance the risk of bleeding when used with blood thinners, for instance, warfarin or aspirin.

Some ways to use ginseng root 

Straight from the root

To boost energy levels and attentiveness during the day, you can place a small slice of dried ginseng root in your mouth. Compress it lightly between your tongue and the upper palate rather than crushing it. 

You can put this small slice in your mouth throughout the day, or throw it when the flavour ends. However, don’t increase the dose otherwise, it can keep you awake and cause nervousness, weakness and an irregular heartbeat.

Make a tea from ginseng root

Grind dried ginseng root and put one to two tbsp into a tea bag or the bottom of the cup. Add warm water and let the tea steep for two to three mins. Remove the teabag, or strain the tea. Add honey if you want to have your tea be a little sweeter.

Ginseng root as a cooking spice

  • Add a bit of dried ginseng root to locally sourced honey to increase its health benefits and to somewhat neutralise its sweet taste. 
  • Sprinkle powdered dried ginseng root over powdered coffee prior to brewing it to add a bit of flavour and to boost the effects of the caffeine. 
  • Put a small piece of dried ginseng root in gently simmering broth and allow it to sit for almost one hour. This enhances the flavour of the broth without adding any sodium. You can remove the slice of ginseng root from the soup before serving. 

How much ginseng root should you consume? 

The amount of ginseng root to take depends on the condition you want to improve. In general, daily doses of one to two grams of raw ginseng root or 200 to 400 milligrams of the extract are recommended. However, for the safe side, It is better to start with lower doses and increase gradually.

Consider a standard ginseng extract that consists of 2 to 3 per cent total ginsenosides, and take it before meals to enhance absorption and gain the most benefits.


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat ginseng root?” with an in-depth analysis of ginseng root, some ways to use ginseng root as well as the health benefits and side effects of eating ginseng root.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.