Red ginseng for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia

This noncontrolled trial found that for people with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or both, taking red ginseng extract improved well-being.

This Study Summary was published on April 4, 2022.

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Background

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FMS) are health conditions that often occur after a viral infection. CFS and FMS frequently overlap and feature fatigue as a primary symptom. Some evidence suggests that Panax ginseng root (ginseng for short) can reduce fatigue.[1] This study examined whether red ginseng, a form of ginseng that has been processed with heat, can improve the well-being of people with CFS and/or FMS.

The study

In this 1-month noncontrolled trial, 188 people with either CFS or FMS (mean age of 59) were assigned to take red ginseng extract daily. Overall, 96.8% of participants met the criteria for CFS and 94.1% met the criteria for FMS, meaning that most participants met the criteria for both.

Participants were given various doses of ginseng extract (100 milligrams mg, 200 mg, or 400 mg), with some participants also given the compound gamma-cyclodextrin to enhance absorption of the bioactive compounds in the ginseng extract. The primary outcome was overall well-being, assessed using a questionnaire in which participants self-reported their energy, well-being, mental clarity, sleep, pain, and stamina.

The results

Compared with baseline, the participants’ well-being improved, as well as every individual subcategory. These changes were independent of the dose or the addition of gamma-cyclodextrin.

Note

This study did not include a placebo group, weakening our confidence in the findings.

Evidence + Benefits at a glance

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This Study Summary was published on April 4, 2022.