Asian ginseng, often called the “King of Herbs”, has a host of health benefits to offer. While we already know that the herb boosts energy, stamina, immunity, improves blood circulation, enhances brain and memory, promotes relaxation, and much more, recent research indicates that Asian ginseng benefits idiopathic chronic fatigue. Idiopathic chronic fatigue is a common type of chronic fatigue, characterized by a persistent condition of low energy level. No underlying medical cause has been found for such a condition. It is not severe enough for being considered chronic fatigue syndrome.
However, a study conducted in 2013 has highlighted ginseng as a significant herbal remedy for treatment of chronic fatigue.
Study on Asian Ginseng's Effect on Unexplained Chronic Fatigue
Studies show the effects of Asian Ginseng (also called Korean Ginseng and Panax Ginseng) on fatigue, although reduction of fatigue forms a prominent benefit of ginseng. Therefore, to examine Asian Ginseng's anti-fatigue effects, a team of researchers carried out a controlled, double-blind, randomized trial involving 90 subjects affected by unexplained chronic fatigue. The results were published by them in the medical journal, PLOS ONE, in April 2013.
The subjects of the study were adults aged between 20 and 65 years, who had been suffering from chronic fatigue for over 6 months. They were screened for ruling out diseases which are linked to fatigue, such as anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Three groups were made – a placebo group, a 1g Asian ginseng group, and a 2g Asian ginseng group. The subjects of the study were assigned randomly to one of these three groups. Each subject was given Panax ginseng extract capsules (a total of 1 or 2g daily) or the placebo 2 times per day for 4 weeks.
Study Results Showed Benefits for High-Dose Group
Researchers measured fatigue at baseline after 2 weeks and after 4 weeks of treatment with two tests – the Numerical Rating Scale and the Visual Analog Scale. For Visual Analog Scale, researchers asked patients to indicate their general fatigue feeling on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means absolutely no fatigue and 10 means unbearably extreme fatigue. After 4 weeks of treatment with Korean ginseng or placebo, a reduction in fatigue was experienced by all groups as measured using the Visual Analog Scale. However, the reduction in severity of fatigue was significant statistically only in case of the subjects who were given the high dose (2g regularly) of Asian ginseng extract. The average Visual Analog Score for this group fell to 4.4 from 7.3.
Asian Ginseng Benefits Symptoms of Mental Fatigue More Than Symptoms of Physical Fatigue
For the second test for fatigue, the Numerical Rating Scale, researchers asked patients 4 questions regarding mental fatigue and 7 questions in relation with physical fatigue. After 4 weeks, scores for symptoms of mental fatigue showed significant improvement for both 1g and 2g of Korean ginseng compared to the placebo group. No difference was noticed within the 1g and 2g ginseng doses. For 1g, 2g, and placebo, the average score fell from 20.4 to 15.1, 20.7 to 13.8, and 20.9 to 18.8 respectively. Symptoms of physical fatigue also improved from baseline, however, no noteworthy difference was there between ginseng benefits and placebo on physical fatigue, as per measurement by Numerical Rating Scale.
Asian Ginseng has Antioxidant Properties
According to the hypothesis of researchers, the benefits of Panax ginseng like increased energy and lowered fatigue, a result of the herb's antioxidant properties and its ability to generate anti-fatigue effects through mental improvements, more than through physical improvements. Apart from physical fatigue, mental issues like difficulty with concentration, memory or learning are chronic fatigue symptoms, and it has been observed in previous clinical studies involving healthy volunteers that ginseng benefits memory and cognitive performance.
For testing the antioxidant hypothesis, researchers carried out many blood tests for measuring levels of compounds linked to antioxidants and oxidative stress. In this study, the subjects affected by unexplained chronic fatigue had about 1.3-fold greater baseline level of total reactive oxygen species in blood, and 4-fold greater level of malondialdehyde, one more oxidative stress marker, in comparison with healthy subjects. After 4 weeks of the treatment, both 1g and 2g of Asian ginseng significantly reduced total reactive oxygen species levels in blood and levels of other oxidative stress markers compared to the placebo.
The researchers reported that the study results offer the first evidence of Asian ginseng's anti-fatigue properties in patients affected by idiopathic chronic fatigue. Based on these data, the authors of the study concluded that Asian ginseng can serve as useful to beat chronic fatigue.
Thus, Asian ginseng is proven to be a viable herbal treatment for idiopathic chronic fatigue. However, for Panax ginseng to be effective, it should be grown for at least 6 years to full maturity. People seeking Panax ginseng products should make sure that they go for products that are made from 6-years grown Korean ginseng roots. Korea Ginseng Corp (KGC) is a world's leading ginseng manufacturer and all KGC ginseng products are made up of 6-years-grown, fully mature, Korean Red Ginseng roots that are loaded with health benefits.