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Panax ginseng

Panax Ginseng is commonly referred to as the 'True Ginseng' (being the most researched 'Ginseng' actually belonging to the plant family of 'Ginseng') and appears to be effective for mood, immunity, and cognition; subpar for erections, testosterone, and exercise.

Our evidence-based analysis on panax ginseng features 209 unique references to scientific papers.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Panax Ginseng tends to be taken in doses of 200 to 400mg daily for general 'preventative' medicine, although some studies on the inclusion of Panax Ginseng in a multivitamin suggest doses as low as 40mg might be bioactive. The 400mg dose appears to confer most cognitive benefit.

These doses refer to standard 'Ginseng Extract' which is around 2-3% total Ginsenosides, and is a once daily dosage.

Trials using Korean Red Ginseng extract for erectile health and libido enhancement tend to use 3g of total KRG extract daily, in three doses of 1000mg.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine Plus members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Panax ginseng has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine Plus members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Minor Moderate See all 10 studies
A decrease in fasting blood glucose has been noted over time with standard supplemental doses of panax ginseng in diabetics, with this dose being ineffective in altering the blood glucose of non-diabetics; high (20g) doses may acutely reduce blood glucose in healthy persons
grade-b Minor High See all 4 studies
An increase in cognition is seen acutely and thought to be due to anti-fatigue effects, with nonfatigued individuals not experiencing an increase in cognitive performance
grade-b Minor Very High See all 4 studies
An improvement in erectile dysfunction is seen with 3g of Korean Red Ginseng (fermented panax ginseng, regular panax ginseng not as well tested) which is thought to be secondary to anti-fatigue effects and improved blood flow
grade-b Minor Very High See all 5 studies
There appears to be an increase in well being and happiness in persons who either have a disease state treated (ie, better glycemic control in diabetes or less erectile dysfunction) and this may also apply to acute usage of 400mg panax ginseng during acute mental stress. In an unstressed and healthy person, panax ginseng is unlikely to have benefit
grade-b Minor High See all 3 studies
May decrease some symptoms associated with menopause, mostly related to libido, but this is unreliable.
grade-b - High See all 4 studies
Although there may be a slight blood pressure reducing effect in persons with the highest blood pressure, overall there is not a significant reducing effect of panax ginseng
grade-b - High See all 3 studies
More evidence than not suggests no significant improvement in insulin sensitivity, although it is still a minor possibility
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
An increase in all three main antioxidant enzymes (SOD, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase) appear to occur to a small degree following ingestion of Panax ginseng
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
An increase in blood flow has been noted with panax ginseng supplementation
grade-c Minor - See study
Has been noted to improve self-reported calmness
grade-c Minor - See study
Can decrease the rates of DNA damage noted in lymphocytes, which may be related to the anticancer effects of panax ginseng
grade-c Minor - See study
Anti-depressive effects may be secondary to reducing menopausal symptoms
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
A possible increase in endothelial reactivity is noted with panax ginseng supplementation
grade-c Minor - See study
Oxidation in the body appears to be reduced, which is thought to be secondary to induction of antioxidant enzymes
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
May increase HDL-C levels, seems unreliable in doing so
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
A possible reduction in HbA1c, but small in magnitude and unreliably seen
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in IL-6 concentrations has been noted
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
May reduce LDL-C levels to a very small degree, seems unreliable in doing so
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in lactate has been noted one hour into training in heat, with no significant influence prior to one hour
grade-c Minor - See study
May increase libido as a side-effect of reducing the symptoms associated with menopause, may not work inherently in youth or men
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in biomarkers of muscle damage (creatine kinase) has been noted 72 hours after exercise in which panax ginseng was preloaded
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
A possible reducing effect on the oxidation of LDL, secondary to reduction of oxidation in general; however, this appears to be unreliable
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Mixed effects on reaction time, with a possible decrease occurring
grade-c Minor - See study
Has been noted to improve the first-night effect (impaired sleep when sleeping in a new location) after a week of supplementation; possibly of interest to frequent travellers
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
May increase testosterone in infertile men, has also failed in fertile men to influence testosterone; likely a mere antioxidative effect in damaged testicles
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Possible cholesterol reducing effect, but appears unreliable
grade-c Minor - See study
Has been noted to increase the antibody response to vaccinations when taken prior
grade-c - - See study
Insufficient evidence to support a role of panax ginseng in improving exercise performance
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on C-reactive protein levels
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on estrogen levels in women
grade-c - - See study
Rates of fat oxidation during exercise appear unchanged
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on heart rate
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence on fasting insulin levels seen with panax ginseng
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on oxygen uptake during exercise
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on prolactin in men
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on the rate of perceived exertion during exercise
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant alterations in triglycerides and fatty acids in the fasted state or during exercise
grade-c - Moderate See 2 studies
Does not appear to have any weight reducing properties, although it has been reported in one study secondary to improving the glycemic profiles of diabetics
grade-d Notable - See study
More than a halving of the risk of colorectal cancer has been noted with panax ginseng daily ingestion
grade-d Notable - See study
More than a halving of ovarian cancer risk has been associated with daily panax ginseng ingestion
grade-d Notable Very High See 2 studies
Has been associated with over half the risk of all tested forms of cancer, possibly confounded with a healthy lifestyle in general (as the study in question did not exert many controls)
grade-d Notable - See study
More than a halving of pancreatic cancer risk has been noted with panax ginseng
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease in symptoms associated with cognitive decline has been noted

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Format currently not compatable with rubric for the following three studies not indexed in Medline[1][2][3]

  • Both these excluded due to being confounded as 'Ginseng containing Multivitamin formulations'[4][5]

  • Confounded with Mulberry and Banaba Leaf[6]

  • Used injections, rather than oral intake, of ginseng[7]

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Things to Note

Also Known As

True Ginseng, Ginseng, Panax, Mountain Ginseng, Wild Ginseng

Do Not Confuse With

Siberian Ginseng, American Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Pseudoginseng

Goes Well With

  • Kai Xin San ingredients (Acorus gramineus, Hoelen, Polygala) for improved absorption and circulating levels

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Click here to see all 209 references.