The root of the ginseng plant has been used in China, Japan, and Korea for
many centuries in the therapy of psychiatric and neurological disorders.
There are several varieties of ginseng sold over the counter including Asian
ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). As a
rule, Chinese ginseng is more stimulating and raises body temperature while
American ginseng is less heating and stimulating. Hundreds of ginseng
products are available over the counter with different dosages and
A Norwegian study was performed to assess the effects of a standardized
ginseng extract compared with those of a placebo on quality of life and on
hormone levels in symptomatic postmenopausal women. Questionnaires were used
to find out the effects of the extract on quality of life at baseline and
after 16 weeks' treatment with either the ginseng extract or placebo. To
assess the effectiveness of ginseng on postmenopausal symptoms,
follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol levels, and endometrial
thickness, were recorded at the same time points. Of the 384 randomized
patients, the questionnaires were completed by 193 women treated with
and 191 treated with placebo. Women on ginseng noted having less depression,
and improved well-being. However, ginseng did not seem to have an effect on
hot flushes, levels of hormones, or the thickness of the endometrium.
This study shows, however, that the beneficial effects of ginseng are most
likely not mediated by hormone replacement-like effects.
Wiklund IK, Mattsson LA, Lindgren R, Limoni C. Effects of a standardized
ginseng extract on quality of life and physiological parameters in
symptomatic postmenopausal women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Swedish Alternative Medicine Group.
Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 1999;19(3):89-99.