Ginseng has beneficial effects in cancer, diabetes and aging. There are two main varieties of ginseng: Panax ginseng (Korean ginseng) and Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng). There are anecdotal reports that American ginseng helps reduce body temperature, whereas Korean ginseng improves blood circulation and increases body temperature; however, their respective effects on body temperature and metabolic parameters have not been studied. We investigated body temperature and metabolic parameters in mice using a metabolic cage. After administering ginseng extracts acutely (single dose of 1000 mg/kg) or chronically (200 mg/kg/day for four weeks), core body temperature, food intake, oxygen consumption and activity were measured, as well as serum levels of pyrogen-related factors and mRNA expression of metabolic genes. Acute treatment with American ginseng reduced body temperature compared with PBS-treated mice during the night; however, there was no significant effect of ginseng treatment on body temperature after four weeks of treatment. VO 2, VCO 2, food intake, activity and energy expenditure were unchanged after both acute and chronic ginseng treatment compared with PBS treatment. In acutely treated mice, serum thyroxin levels were reduced by red and American ginseng, and the serum prostaglandin E2 level was reduced by American ginseng. In chronically treated mice, red and white ginseng reduced thyroxin levels. We conclude that Korean ginseng does not stimulate metabolism in mice, whereas a high dose of American ginseng may reduce night-time body temperature and pyrogen-related factors.