Potential anti-diabetic properties of Panax Ginseng.





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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 insomnia 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 explained a potential new role for ginseng. Using an extract from the berries of Panax Ginseng, the ginsenoside Re was investigated for it's possible anti-obesity and anti-hyperglycemic effects. This animal study injected obese diabetic mice with the ginseng extract for 12 consecutive days. On the 12th day, mice began to have normal glycemic levels as well as an improvement in glucose tolerance. This progression in the blood glucose levels was linked to a significant reduction in serum insulin levels in fed and fasting mice. In addition the extract-fed mice also lost a considerable amount of weight, which was associated with an increase in energy expenditure and an increase in body temperature. Serum cholesterol levels were also reduced. This study shows potential new therapeutic applications for ginseng, but further studies are essential.1


1. Attele AS, et al. Antidiabetic Effects of Panax ginseng Berry Extract and the Identification of an Effective Component. Diabetes. May 200251:1851-1858.