New research out of the Mayo Clinic in the US has found that high doses of ginseng can reduce cancer-related fatigue in patients.
Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting this week, the study found that after two months of use, participants who were given 2,000 mg of pure, ground American ginseng root in capsule form reported significant improvements in general exhaustion compared to their counterparts who were fed a placebo.
Off-the shelf ginseng was not used, as some brands use ethanol for processing, which can be harmful to breast cancer patients.
On a 100-point scale, subjects reported a 20-point improvement in fatigue and feelings of being ‘pooped,' ‘worn out,' ‘fatigued,' ‘sluggish,' and ‘run-down,' compared to the placebo group, researchers said. The herb had no side effects.
Of the 340 participants in the study, 60 percent of them were being treated, or had completed treatment, for breast cancer.
Fatigue is a common complaint among cancer patients as inflammatory cytokines in the body's immune system increase. The active ingredient in ginseng, called ginsenosides, has been shown to help reduce cytokines and regulate the stress hormone cortisol.
The same ingredient was also identified as having anti-inflammatory properties in a study out of Hong Kong, while ginseng and saffron were found to be potential aphrodisiacs in a study out of Canada last year.