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A multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers involving patients who had a cancer diagnosis within the previous two years of entry into the study. These cancer patients reported moderate fatigue and were given American ginseng root capsules, two capsules of 500 mg each twice daily or placebo. After 4 weeks, the patients who received ginseng reported somewhat less fatigue than placebo patients but after 8 weeks, there was a statistical and clinically significant difference between the ginseng group and placebo group. The results were even more clinically important for 83 patients who received ginseng and were undergoing chemotherapy or radiation during the study. They had significant improvements at 4 and 8 weeks.

HeadacheCommentary: Fatigue is a symptom of many patients with cancer, and fatigue during cancer treatments of chemotherapy and/or radiation is one of the most common side effects of these treatments. Ginseng has a long tradition of being used for fatigue and is one of the most well known adaptogens– i.e. plants that help us to adapt to stressors and help restore our homeostasis, including improving our energy.

Reference

Barton DL et al. Wisconsin ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) to improve cancer-related fatigue: A randomized, double-blind trial, N07C2. J Natl Cancer Inst 2013 Aug 21; 105:1230.

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