Ginseng is a natural remedy used for restoring and healing benefits. Ginsenosides, the primary active ingredients in ginseng, are responsible for pharmacological properties in ginseng, ranging from antioxidant activity, anti-inflammation to anticancer effects.
A recent study, led by the researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, found that American ginseng is an effective and safe adjunct to treat type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a kind of diabetes featured with high blood sugar, insulin resistance and relative lack of insulin. According to Diabetes Canada, 90 percent of Canadians with diabetes are living with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers designed a clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of American ginseng as adjuvant therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes.
A total of 24 individuals living with type 2 diabetes took part in the trial and they were given either 1g/meal (3 g/day) of American ginseng or placebo for 8 weeks, together with original treatment. Following the 4-week washout period, the participants were crossed over to the opposite treatment for another 8 weeks.
The results showed that compared with placebo, American ginseng, when used together with traditional treatment, greatly reduced blood sugar and fasting blood glucose, and lowered systolic blood pressure.
Before this study, a previous study published in 2016 reviewed random trials on the efficacy of ginseng-related therapies in type 2 diabetes. Among 141 studies, 8 studies were chosen for further meta-analysis. The study results concluded the benefits of ginseng in improving glucose control and insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes or impaired intolerance.
In Canada, ginseng is authorized a supportive therapy for the promotion of healthy glucose levels by Health Canada.
Based on the antidiabetic effects of ginseng, people with type 2 diabetes can consult their health care practitioner to see whether they are suitable to take ginseng to promote health.
Some people may not benefit from taking ginseng. For example, people who are taking antidepressant medication, blood thinners or digoxin shall avoid ginseng consumption.