People may feel weak, tired or even depressed after cancer treatment. This may be a symptom of cancer-related fatigue.
What is cancer-related fatigue?
Cancer-related fatigue is one of the common side effects of cancer treatments including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Different from normal fatigue that can vanish through a sufficient rest, cancer-fatigue usually lasts longer and causes more distress.
People with serious cancer-related fatigue may feel it hard to go on a routine life, including being with family and friends and doing exercise. To some extent, fatigue is a more distressing side effect than others like pain, vomiting and nausea.
Ginseng as a remedy for cancer-related fatigue
Ginseng is a traditional medicinal herb that is known for anti-fatigue property in Asian countries for over two thousand years. Ginsenosides are active compounds in ginseng with many pharmacological benefits including fighting fatigue. The anti-fatigue property has been widely recognized by people in western counties.
A Mayo Clinic Cancer Center-led study found that ginseng can help relieve chemotherapy-related fatigue. The study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Researchers designed a double-blind trial to investigate the efficacy of ginseng on cancer-related fatigue. 364 participants suffering from fatigue after chemotherapy were divided into ginseng group and placebo group. Participants in the ginseng group received 2,000 mg of American ginseng (3% ginsenosides).
The study results showed that participants undergoing ginseng treatment had statistically significant improvement in fatigue at both 4 and 8 weeks.
Another study conducted by the researchers from South Korea also evaluated the anti-fatigue effect of Korean Red Ginseng (Steamed Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) on patients with colorectal cancer. In a randomized, double-blind trial, they found that colorectal cancer patients in treatment with mFOLFOX-6 regimen and Korean Red Ginseng received more benefits in usual fatigue, mood, relations with others, walking ability and enjoyment of life over 16 weeks.
These research indicate that ginseng and ginsenosides can be used as a remedy for cancer-related fatigue.
Rare ginsenosides are more effective against cancer-related fatigue
Due to the anti-fatigue efficacy of Ginseng and ginsenosides, cancer patients in some countries have used some ginseng and ginsenosides supplements as an adjuvant treatment. So how should we choose good ginseng and ginsenosides products?
First of all, we should have a good understanding of the difference between ginseng, ginsenosides, and rare ginsenosides. Ginsenosides are active compounds in ginseng, while rare ginsenosides, the metabolites of ginsenosides, have more active pharmacological activities. Therefore, rare ginsenosides products are the right choices for customers. Some well-known rare ginsenosides include Rh2, Rg3, Rk2, Rh3 and aPPD.
When buying rare ginsenoside products to help fight cancer, customers should be more cautious to confirm whether rare ginsenosides are the main components. The best rare ginsenoside products on the market are those with multiple highly active rare ginsenosides and high concentrations of active ingredients.