Ginseng

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Ginseng usually refers to ginseng radix (panax ginseng) is the root of the plants in the genus "Panax", subspecies coming from Appalachia, South China, and Korea and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.[1] It is commonly used for general fatigue and weakness.[1] Traditional Chinese medicine uses it as a muscle relaxant and a tonic for patients with chronic illnesses.[citation needed]

There are many different types of ginseng, with several types of ginseng coming from a number of different plants.[2]Siberian ginseng having the most evidence to help improve fatigue and weakness in the short term.[citation needed]

Types[edit | edit source]

American[edit | edit source]

Panax quincefolius is commonly known as American ginseng, and is found in Canada and the US.[2][3] Typical doses uses in trials for cancer-related fatigue and fatigue from multiple sclerosis were 750 - 2000mg, for up to six months. Most studies found American ginseng moderately effective for fatigue, particularly when used at higher doses or for six months.[3]

Panax radix[edit | edit source]

Asian, Chinese and Korean ginseng terms all refer to panax radix, which is also found in Russia.[2] Panax radix was found to be moderately effective in most trials for cancer-related fatigue or fatigue caused by multiple sclerosis, particularly when used for around six months or in doses of course to 2000mg.[3] Doses used in the trials are typically between 800 - 2000mg.[3]

Siberian[edit | edit source]

Siberian ginseng refers to a different plant, known as eleutherococcus.[2]

White and Red[edit | edit source]

Ginseng may be described as white or red depending on the method used to prepare or process it, typically these are a form of ginseng radix (Chinese ginseng).[1]

Alternative names[edit | edit source]

Uses[edit | edit source]

Theory[edit | edit source]

ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

There is a lack of evidence about the benefits or risks of ginseng in patients with ME/CFS;[3] a recent systematic review found that clinical trials have assessed only the effects of ginseng on fatigue caused by other illnesses, including fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and cancer-related fatigue, or have assessed only the symptom of fatigue in people with idiopathic chronic fatigue, some of whom may have also had ME/CFS.[4][5] The effect of ginseng on symptoms of ME/CFS other than fatigue are not known due to the absence of clinical trials as a treatment for ME/CFS.

Risks and side effects[edit | edit source]

There is a lack of information from clinical trials,[3] but it is generally regarded as safe for adult use by the European Medicines Agency, which describes possible risks and side effects.[1]

Costs and availability[edit | edit source]

Asian and American ginseng supplements are readily available over the counter, with American ginseng being significantly cheaper.[2]

Notable studies[edit | edit source]

  • 2003, Antifatigue Effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial[5] - (Full text)
  • 2004, Randomized controlled trial of Siberian ginseng for chronic fatigue[4](Full text)
  • 2018, Ginseng as a Treatment for Fatigue: A Systematic Review[3] - (Full text)

Learn more[edit | edit source]

  • Ginseng - European Medicines Agency
  • Ginseng - Meyer's Side Effects of Drugs

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.01.11.21.3 "Ginseng Radix". European Medicines Agency. Retrieved Aug 23, 2020. 
  2. 2.02.12.22.32.4 Aronson, Jeffrey K., ed. (Oct 15, 2015). Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs: The International Encyclopedia of Adverse Drug Reactions and Interactions. Elsevier. p. 546. ISBN 978-0-444-53716-4. 
  3. 3.03.13.23.33.43.53.6 Arring, Noël M.; Millstine, Denise; Marks, Lisa A.; Nail, Lillian M. (Apr 6, 2018). "Ginseng as a Treatment for Fatigue: A Systematic Review". The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 24 (7): 624–633. doi:10.1089/acm.2017.0361. ISSN 1075-5535. 
  4. 4.04.1 Hartz, A. J.; Bentler, S.; Noyes, R.; Hoehns, J.; Logemann, C.; Sinift, S.; Butani, Y.; Wang, W.; Brake, K. (Jan 2004). "Randomized controlled trial of Siberian ginseng for chronic fatigue". Psychological Medicine. 34 (1): 51–61. doi:10.1017/S0033291703008791. ISSN 1469-8978. 
  5. 5.05.1 Kim, Hyeong-Geug; Cho, Jung-Hyo; Yoo, Sa-Ra; Lee, Jin-Seok; Han, Jong-Min; Lee, Nam-Hun; Ahn, Yo-Chan; Son, Chang-Gue (Apr 17, 2013). "Antifatigue Effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial". PLOS ONE. 8 (4): e61271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061271. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3629193Freely accessible. PMID 23613825. 

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

adverse reaction - Any unintended or unwanted response to the treatment under investigation in a clinical trial.

randomized controlled trial (RCT) - A trial in which participants are randomly assigned to two groups, with one group receiving the treatment being studied and a control or comparison group receiving a sham treatment, placebo, or comparison treatment.

chronic fatigue (CF) - Persistent and abnormal fatigue is a symptom, not an illness. It may be caused by depression, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or many other illnesses. The term "chronic fatigue" should never be confused with the disease chronic fatigue syndrome.

adverse reaction - Any unintended or unwanted response to the treatment under investigation in a clinical trial.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.