How may Ginseng help to cancer patients?
According to a new study, high doses of the herb American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) may reduce cancer-related fatigue in patients during 2 months.
Researchers studied 340 cancer patients who received a placebo or 2,000 milligrams of ginseng administered in capsules containing pure, ground American ginseng root.
At 4 weeks, the pure ginseng provided only a slight improvement in fatigue symptoms. At 8 weeks, ginseng offered cancer patients significant improvement in general exhaustion - feelings of being ‘pooped’, ‘worn out’, ‘fatigued, ‘sluggish’, ‘run-down’ or ‘tired’ - compared to the placebo group. Besides, the herb did not cause any side effects.
Fatigue in cancer patients has been linked to an increase in the immune system's inflammatory cytokines as well as poorly regulated levels of the stress-hormone cortisol. Ginseng's active ingredients, called ginsenosides, have been shown in animal studies to reduce cytokines related to inflammation and help regulate cortisol levels.
‘After eight weeks, we saw a 20-point improvement in fatigue in cancer patients, measured on a 100-point, standardized fatigue scale. If we can help the body be better modulated throughout treatment with the use of ginseng, we may be able to prevent severe long-term fatigue,’ - says researcher Debra Barton, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. .