A woman who took large doses of ginseng while pregnant gave birth to an unusually hairy baby, raising further concerns about the safety of the widely available root extract, doctors reported Wednesday.
About nine months before she became pregnant, the 30-year-old Canadian woman started taking twice the daily recommended amount of pure Siberian ginseng tablets to combat irritability and mood swings.The woman, who was a nurse, continued her self-imposed ginseng regimen during her pregnancy and gave birth to a baby boy with hair over his entire forehead and thick black hair over his genitals.
After breast feeding the baby for about two weeks, the mother stopped taking ginseng and the infant's excessive hair started falling out.
In a letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Gideon Koren and his colleagues said they cannot prove that the mother's ginseng use caused her baby's hairy woes. However, they noted the woman experienced increase hair growth on her head, face and genital area while taking the ginseng.
In any event, the doctors said: "This case, like reports of serious adverse effects in adults using high doses of ginseng, suggests the need for regulatory control."