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Ginseng for Fatigue

7/9/2019 12:57:54 PM
ginsengFatigue is one of the most common consequences of chronic illnesses or the treatment of chronic illnesses. Many individuals attempt to improve their energy by using natural products, with one of the most popular products being ginseng. Both Asian ginseng root (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng root (Panax quinquefolius) contain ginsenosides, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cortisol-modulating effects.

Study evaluates ginseng for fatigue

In a systematic review, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2018, researchers evaluated the safety and efficacy of Asian ginseng and American ginseng for managing fatigue in patients with chronic illnesses.

Ten articles met the inclusion criteria for the review. The dosages, populations, and length of treatments varied widely, making the studies too heterogeneous to conduct a meta-analysis. Instead, the studies were summarized in a narrative review.

Large percentage of participants noticed improvement in fatigue

Eight out of the 10 studies were double-blind, randomized controlled trials. Seven of these studies showed significant improvements in fatigue scores in the intervention group when compared with the control group. In addition, one of the uncontrolled trials showed a significant improvement in fatigue from baseline to the end of the trial. Altogether, 8 out of the 10 studies reported positive findings. None of the studies reported significant adverse events attributed to ginseng.  

Ginseng dosages ranged from 80 mg to 2000 mg per day, and most of the studies that showed positive improvements in fatigue utilized dosages of 400 mg or more. Study durations ranged from 2 weeks to 6 months, and most of the studies that showed positive improvements in fatigue lasted 4 weeks or more.

More evaluations needed to solidfy findings, dosage and gender accuracy

There were some weaknesses in this review that should be noted. The authors point out that 5 of the 8 studies reporting significant improvements may have been biased from missing data. Women represented the largest percentage of participants in the studies, limiting the ability to generalize the findings to men.
 
Overall, this review reports that there is “modest support” for American ginseng and Asian ginseng as treatments for fatigue in patients with chronic illness. They suggest that future studies evaluate ginseng dosages of 400 mg per day or more for a minimum of 4 weeks.
 
Reference
Arring NM, Millstine D, Marks LA, Nail LM. Ginseng as a Treatment for Fatigue: A Systematic Review. J Altern Complement Med. 2018; 24: 624-633.

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