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Ginseng for Adrenal Fatigue

  • There are two sides to Ginseng
  • It can work as a Stimulant. It can also reduce your stress response
  • If you have adrenal fatigue, it may act more as a stimulant

Ginseng is another ingredient often used in adrenal fatigue supplements.

Ginseng will act as a stimulant. Ginseng can improve your mood, energy, libido. However, this boost in energy may come at a cost.

Anything that makes you feel better by stimulating you will eventually make you feel worse.

Although it is a stimulant, research also shows that Ginseng has anti-stress affects, having the ability reduce your physiological response to a stressful event3,5.

It is due to these anti-stress properties that Ginseng is often used in adrenal fatigue supplements.

However, if you have advanced adrenal fatigue, can you handle the stimulation part of Ginseng?

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Ginseng is a Stimulant

If you are struggling with adrenal fatigue, the last thing you need is to force your adrenal glands to produce more energy. This is exactly what Ginseng does.

  Thus the ginseng saponin was found to act on the hypothalamus and/or hypophysis primarily, and stimulated ACTH secretion which resulted in increased synthesis of corticosterone in the adrenal cortex1

My own experience with products using Ginseng (and Rhodiola Rosea) is that I felt great for several days, or even up to a week. However, there would always be a crash.

Looking through various adrenal fatigue forums, others have reported that Ginseng is too stimulating for them. The following is from the forum:

  I tried a product (Adaptocrine) and I thought I was coming out of my skin. My heart pounded, I perspired, and felt very anxious. I finally realized that I can't take Ginseng (in any form), and the product had lots of Ginseng (different forms).6

Everyone may not have the same experience. But it is important to understand that it is a stimulant.

Ginseng as an Anti-Stress Herb

  • Ginseng can reduce your reaction to stress.

This is the side of Ginseng that suppliers may be using to justify using Ginseng in adrenal fatigue supplements.

Studies show the pre-treatment with Ginseng will reduce the stress response when exposed to a stressor3.

  However, interestingly, pretreatment of animals with the same doses of GTS (Ginseng) (5 and 20 mg/kg) significantly attenuated the immobilization stress-induced increase in plasma corticosterone levels 3

In the study above, they trapped mice so they could not move, which usually increases stress hormones in the mice. Mice that had been pre-treated with Ginseng had a reduced output of stress hormones.

If this all Ginseng did.... it would be wonderful for adrenal fatigue. However, there is that darn stimulant component.


Ginseng can act as a stimulant, but can also act to reduce your stress response when exposed to a stressful event.

Many with adrenal fatigue do not seem able to handle the stimulation aspect of Ginseng.

It may cause immediate anxiety, or make you feel jittery. Or you may experience a better mood, more libido, more energy, only to have an energy crash later.

You can try it, and see what affect is has on you. If you experience a crash from over stimulation, you can bounce back ..... just like from every other source of a crash.

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1. Stimulation of pituitary-adrenocortical system by ginseng saponin
2. Inhibition of stress-induced plasma corticosterone levels by ginsenosides in mice: involvement of nitric oxide
3. Effects of ginseng saponin administered intraperitoneally on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in mice
4. Adrenocorticotropic hormone
5. Anti-stress effects of ginseng via down-regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine B-hydroxylase (DBH) gene expression in immobilization-stressed rats and PC12 cells
6. Curezone Forum Post by User carolynmil

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