Panax Ginseng and its effect on quality of life.




Annals of Pharmacotherapy

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Panax Ginseng (Asian)
Professional Data: Panax Ginseng (Asian)


The ginsengs are the most frequently purchased herbal supplement in the United States. Historically, it has been used for a variety of health benefits, especially for its ability to help the body cope with stress and fatigue. The ginseng's nonspecific actions within the body increase the body's ability to cope with physical and emotional stress as well as stress from external toxins responsible for disease and infection. A standardized extract is derived from the root of the plant source.

The active ingredients of ginseng (American and Asian) are called "ginsenosides." These ingredients are reported to have an ability to improve stamina and learning capacity, to act as a sedative and to help control low blood sugar. Due to the structure and concentration of the active ingredients, American ginseng may be more suitable for individuals who are coffee drinkers, overweight, or have insomnia1 and Asian ginseng may be more suitable for individuals who do not have high blood pressure, are athletic, but feel fatigued or have high stress jobs.

A recent study published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy assessed the effects of Panax (Asian) ginseng on quality of life. This randomized double-blind study lasted for 8 weeks and the results were calculated by a general health questionnaire given at baseline and 4 and 8 weeks. Two groups each included 15 participants who received 200 mg/day of P. ginseng or a placebo. At baseline, there were no important differences between the two groups according to the questionnaire. At four weeks, the ginseng group demonstrated higher scores in social functioning and mental health when compared to the placebo group. These improvements did not however, continue to the 8-week period. Adverse effects were seen in 33% of the ginseng group and in 17% of the placebo group. The author's conclusion stated that, "P. ginseng improves aspects of mental health and social functioning after 4 weeks of therapy, although these differences attenuate with continued use."2


1. Wang X, Sakuma T, Asafu-Adjave E, et al. Determination of Ginsenosides in Plant Extracts from Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius L. by LC/MS/MS. Anal Chem. Apr1999;71(8):1579-84.
2. Ellis JM, et al. Effects of Panax ginseng on Quality of Life. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. Mar 2002;36(3):375-79.