Ginseng and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients.




Am J Epidemiol

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Eleuthero is one of the top selling herbal products in the United States. It is a member of the ginseng family, but it is of a different genus than other popular ginsengs. The use of eleuthero root dates back 2,000 years in the records of Chinese medicine when it was used for respiratory tract infections, as well as colds and flu. The Chinese also believed that eleuthero provided energy and vitality. In Russia, the people of Siberia originally used it to increase physical performance and quality of life.

Eleuthero has been reported to increase stamina and endurance and protect the body systems against stress-induced illness and fatigue. Scientists refer to eleuthero as an adaptogen, meaning it has the ability to boost nonspecific resistance of the body to a wide range of chemical, physical, psychological, and biological stressors. The adaptogenic properties of eleuthero have been extensively investigated in Russia. Studies conducted there have found that ginseng may offer a wide range of benefits. These include enhancement of vision and immunity, cardiovascular health and mental alertness among others.

Researchers recently investigated ginseng intake and survival and quality of life (QOL) in breast cancer. This study was conducted in Shanghai, China and involved 1,455 women, all whom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Recruitment began in 1996 and follow-up continued until 2002. Ginseng use was recorded at baseline and after follow-up. About 27% of the women were ginseng users before cancer diagnosis. After analyzing the data, the results showed that those using ginseng had a decreased risk of mortality compared to those who did not use ginseng. Ginseng use after diagnosis was linked to higher QOL scores, especially in psychological and social well-being domains.1


1. Cui, Y, et al. Association of ginseng use with survival and quality of life among breast cancer patients. Am J Epidemiol. Apr 2006;163(7):645-53.