American Ginseng Cuts Cancer Fatigue

Photo credit: nickgraywfu

Cancer patients often suffer from fatigue thought to be related to inflammation or to dysregulated stress hormones.

Inflammation is an activation of the immune response that can arise from the presence of the cancer itself, but also from toxic cancer treatments.  Stress hormones can be increased by inflammation, by the stress of having a life threatening illness, and by the cancer treatment itself.

Researchers were curious whether American Ginseng, a type of ginseng that grows in the Eastern half of the United States, would be helpful to these patients.  American Ginseng is an herb thought to help users adapt to stress.  It has previously been shown to calm harmful inflammation and regulate cortisol, a potent and often destructive stress hormone.

In a recent study conducted at the Mayo Clinic, researchers gave 2,000mg American Ginseng twice daily to cancer patients who were undergoing or who had completed cancer treatment. Sixty percent were breast cancer patients.

At 4 weeks, modest improvements were noted on a scale measuring fatigue and sluggishness. At 8 weeks, however, researchers recorded a marked improvement in patient fatigue. Patients reported being much less “pooped out”, “run down”, and “worn out.”

Researchers caution that only a pure powder extract should be used. Alcohol based extracts can concentrate plant estrogens and it is not known how these components impact breast cancer treatment.

American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Meeting 2012.   Support Care Cancer 2012. J Clin Oncol 2012. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  Research and nutritional information included is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease and should not be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician before initiating any new dietary or supplement program. References available by request.