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 Ginseng Improves Mood in Postmenopausal Women 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Boosters by . View all columns in series
Ray Sahelian 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 combinations.

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 ginseng 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.

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 About The Author
Ray Sahelian, M.D., is a popular and respected physician who has been seen on numerous television programs including NBC Today, Dateline NBC, and CNN, and quoted by countless major magazines such as Newsweek He......moreRay Sahelian MD
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