Panax Ginseng - a Healthy Alternative for NSAIDs

Panax Ginseng - a Healthy Alternative for NSAIDs

Did you know that taking NSAIDs may increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke?

When pain strikes, it’s common for sufferers to reach for any number of available NSAIDs, both prescription and over-the-counter, including ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), diclofenac (Voltaren), and celecoxib (Celebrex). These powerful drugs may seem like mini miracles when you are needing relief, but there are some important risks to consider.

It’s been more than 15 years that we’ve known about the connection between taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. The prescription drug Vioxx was taken off the market in 2004 because it doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke. A class action suit in Canada paid out $37 million. 


The Heart Risks Associated with NSAIDs

Popping an occasional NSAID to treat a headache or to help ease minor back pain is probably not to going to lead to any heart problems. However, last year the FDA further strengthened their warning about NSAIDs because evidence has emerged demonstrating that even short-term use—as little as a few weeks—of these pain relievers can increase your risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, and other heart issues. 

The new FDA warnings also point out that while naproxen may be safer than other types of NSAIDs, the expert panel was not certain about its safety. They concluded that higher doses taken for longer time increased risks, and that those who already have heart disease were at the greatest risk, even though those without heart disease may also be at risk.

Because many use NSAIDs regularly or frequently to help relieve pain and inflammation for chronic conditions like arthritis or chronic athletic injuries, it is vital to understand the drawbacks of taking an NSAID and to take steps to minimize your risk. 


Heart-Healthy Options without Side Effects 

If you are looking for relief from muscle or joint pain, consider trying other therapies before using NSAIDs. There are a wide range of healthier, natural options that will not only help ease the pain, but also get to the root of it, without harmful side effects. 

So, what can you do? Pain is pain. Whether it happens to you or someone you care about, finding relief is everyone’s number one priority. 


Panax Ginseng Eases Pain and Inflammation 

Panax ginseng is renowned for a wide variety of health benefits, including its ability to ease muscle pain and reduce inflammation. Ginsenosides—biologically active saponin composites found in Panax ginseng— have been shown to play a vital anti-inflammatory role. 

In one study, eighteen male college students were assigned to perform a high-intensity uphill treadmill running task. The findings demonstrated that the participants who were given Panax ginseng three times a day for seven days before completing an uphill treadmill exercise test revealed a reduction of exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammatory responses when compared to the students who were not given the herb. 

Another study, showed that Panax ginseng had analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects similar to ibuprofen when given to mice, showing its possible anti-rheumatoid arthritis properties.   

When you consider that Panax ginseng has a high safety profile and many other health benefits, it’s time to look at your options. Note that Panax ginseng also has heart health benefits—that article can be found here. If you are on prescription medication, speak with your doctor first, but know you don’t have to simply suffer.







Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, caring for patients in an integrative medicine clinic in Vancouver.