Ginseng is a popular herbal remedy around the world. It has long been used to help with people’s energy, intestinal problems, cognitive function and immunity.
Researchers from the University of Florence in Florence, Italy published a review study and concluded that the standardized ginseng extract G115 (G115) is an example of quality, safety and efficacy as herbal medicine. The study was recently published in the Journal of Ginseng Research.
Ginsenosides are the main active compounds in ginseng with a variety of medicinal benefits. The quality of ginseng roots depends on the content of ginsenosides. Ginseng extract G115 is the first extract standardized by the US and European pharmacopeias. Obtained by standardized extraction methods, G115 is characterized by 4% ginsenoside content.
The study authors aimed to explore the safety and efficacy of standardized ginseng extract G115 with unvaried ginsenoside content. They chose a standardized ginseng extract as a research objective because they believed qualify is the prerequisite for further accessing the safety and efficacy of a botanical herb. As a result, they selected G115 related studies in the databases Scopus, PubMed, and MEDLINE which are written in English, peer-reviewed, only include G115 as a monotherapy.
Is standardized ginseng extract G115 safe?
It is easy to conclude from our common sense that standardized ginseng extract is safe since we have long used this herbal medicine to enhance our overall well-being. However, what medical science requires is evidence.
Generally speaking, standardized ginseng extract G115 is proved safe in this review based on a series of preclinical safety studies and clinical studies.
From previous studies included in the review, it can know that maximum tolerated dose with G115 can be very high. For example, Rats given with 4000mg/kg/day for 20 days kept normal hematological and histological biomarkers. Also, beagle dogs consuming G115 in doses up to 15 mg/kg/day for 90 days did not suffer any sub-chronic toxicity.
Human clinical studies also concluded that G115 is a well-tolerated natural medicine. No significant side effects have been reported. However, mild adverse symptoms may exist, including stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, headache and insomnia. It deserves attention that drug interaction sometimes can occur when G115 is used together with other medications.
Is standardized ginseng extract G115 effective?
Study authors summarized the main G115 properties found in the preclinical studies: enhancing the muscular activity, supporting cognitive function and modulating immunity.
Furthermore, from a great number of published clinical studies, they assessed the pharmacological effect of G115 on physical performance, blood glucose and lipid, cognitive function, and immune response and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Study authors included twelves human studies which evaluated the effects of G115 on muscular activity. These studies illustrate that the use of G115 could improve physical work capacity, cardiovascular efficiency, appetite and general well-being. Specifically, a longitudinal study found the ability of G115 to alleviate psychasthenic symptoms in a cohort among patients aged over 50.
Many clinical trials in the review study support the health benefits of G115 in improving metabolic activity, especially focusing on blood glucose levels and lipid. One trial involved in the review study found that patients treated with G115 (300mg/day for 8 weeks) saw a greater reduction in glycated hemoglobin and fasting blood glucose levels without increasing blood lipid, compared with the placebo control.
As to the immune health of G115, study authors collected lots of clinical studies investigating the effects of G115 on immune response and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In a study, participants administrated with G115 (200 mg/day) showed a significant reduction in influenza or colds, in which G115 enhanced the immune response against common syndrome by activating natural killer cells and antibody titers. Likewise, people consuming G115 showed an improvement in the quality of life and better pulmonary parameters.
Another benefit of G115 that researchers can never ignore is cognitive support. Study authors evaluated related clinical studies carried out in the last 40 years and found that G115 had significant effects on enhancing working memory, boosting cerebrovascular activity and improving blood circulating insufficiency.
The study is innovative in putting forward that quality is essential to define constant efficacy and safety profiles in pharmaceutical interventions. Study authors assessed the studies on standardized ginseng extract G115 and concluded the safety and efficacy of G115 in a more rigorous manner.
Rita Bilia, Anna & Bergonzi, Maria. (2019). The G115 standardized ginseng extract: an example for safety, efficacy and quality of an herbal medicine. Journal of Ginseng Research. 10.1016/j.jgr.2019.06.003.