This review highlights the most important characteristics and possible applications of American Ginseng (AG). Among numerous studies AG was documented to exert beneficial activity towards nervous system. It boosts memory, increases calmness, and enhances cognitive performance. It has therapeutic potential in treatment of Alzheimer disease and anxiety. It also affects cardiovascular system—changes cardiac structure in hypertension, reduces heart rate, inhibits hypertrophy and heart failure. Furthermore, AG prevents oesophageal damage resulted from reflux oesophagitis and formation of ulcer in gastric mucosa.
Aging is a complicated process with multiple modulations occurring at many levels, from the molecular to the cells. Ginseng, an ancient Chinese herb widely used in Eastern medicine, has been studied for its anti-aging properties., and has been shown to have beneficial effects with regards to anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, cardiovascular regulation, neurological improvement, anti-tumor, skin protection and immune modulation.
While ginseng did not appear to significantly increase the change in fatigue scores over placebo at 4 weeks (14.4 vs 8.2; P=.07), fatigue scores at 8 weeks were significantly improved (20 vs 10.3; P=.003). Interestingly, though, there was a significant improvement in fatigue scores with ginseng at both 4 weeks (P=.02) and 8 weeks (P=.01) when researchers looked at only those patients who were currently receiving cancer treatment. On the other hand, those patients who were not currently undergoing treatment did not show a significant improvement at either time cutoff.
The mechanism by which American ginseng may be able to moderate fatigue is evidenced by preclinical data. Several investigators have established a consistent link between CRF and inflammation and have provided data to support dysregulation of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (42–46). These data suggest that chronic fatigue in cancer is associated with an inability for the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis to regulate inflammatory processes and that concentrations of inflammatory cytokines remain elevated instead of reachieving homeostasis (42–46). Preclinical data evaluating the biologic activity of ginseng have demonstrated the ability of ginseng to downregulate inflammatory pathways (47), decrease inflammation (26–28), and modulate cortisol and the impact of chronic stress on the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (27).