The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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  • Recent Comments

    Is it safe? Ginseng during pregnancy and lactation

    Panax ginseng should be consumed with caution during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, and during lactation.

    Here’s what we know.

    Researchers from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada searched electronic databases and compiled data according to the grade of evidence that was found.

    And, the results.

    • There’s strong scientific evidence in humans that Panax ginseng is not associated with adverse effects when used during pregnancy.
    • Panax ginseng was misreported in the literature as causing androgenization, (male characteristics) when, in fact, the case reported was due to an adulterant.
    • Evidence of teratogenicity with exposure to ginsenosides (steroid-like compounds in Panax ginseng) comes from animal embryos and is based on higher levels than achieved during normal consumption in humans.
    • There are no human studies on the safety of Panax ginseng during lactation.

    The bottom line?
    The results of this literature review are reassuring. But considering it’s not a life-saving medicine combined with the poor record of manufacturing quality control for herbals in general, caution is advised. ConsumerLab has run quality control tests on 20 brands of ginseng, which can be accessed here.

    For balance, the ginseng review on WebMD does not recommend taking ginseng during pregnancy. A review written in 2006 on the website also does not recommend taking ginseng during pregnancy.

    1/23/08 21:56 JR

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