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June 2007

Ginseng for Cancer-Related Fatigue

Ginseng may relieve cancer-related fatigue, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the 2007 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting explained that fatigue is one of the most common symptoms in people diagnosed with cancer and ginseng is a popular herb for its treatment.

Ginseng is an adaptogen and researchers believe it is able to restore balance to the body.

The trial evaluated three doses of American Ginseng versus placebo for cancer-related fatigue.

In the study, patients with a life expectancy of six months and a history of cancer-related fatigue who had been experiencing fatigue for one month were eligible. Exclusion criteria included prior use of ginseng, chronic systemic steroids and brain malignancies. Other etiologies for fatigue, such as pain, were also excluded.

Researchers randomized the 282 participants to receive, in a double blind manner, placebo, 750 milligrams/day, 1,000 milligrams/day or 2,000 milligrams/day of American Ginseng for eight weeks.

The study authors concluded that based on their results, American Ginseng doses of 1000-2000 milligrams/day may be effective for alleviating cancer related fatigue.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) was a folk remedy used medicinally by many Native American tribes as a mild stimulant and digestive aid, as well as for various other health problems including headaches, female infertility, fever and earache.


  1. Barton DL, Soori GS, Bauer B, et al. A pilot, multi-dose, placebo-controlled evaluation of american ginseng (panax quinquefolius) to improve cancer-related fatigue: NCCTG trial N03CA. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2007 ASCO Annual Meeting Proceedings Part I. Vol 25, No. 18S (June 20 Supplement), 2007: 9001.
  2. Natural Standard Research Collaboration: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Copyright 2007.
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