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Ginseng helps cancer patients reduce fatigue, increase energy

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: ginseng, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) American ginseng may reduce fatigue and increase overall psychological well-being in cancer patients, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, N.Y., and presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"We hope that Wisconsin ginseng may offer us a much-needed treatment to improve our patients' quality of life, and we look forward to further evaluation," said lead researcher Debra Barton of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group.

Researchers treated 282 cancer patients with a daily dose of either a placebo or of 750, 1,000 or 2,000 milligrams of Wisconsin ginseng. They found that treatment with the placebo or the 750-mg dose caused very little improvement in measures of fatigue or physical or psychological well-being. Treatment with the higher doses, however, led to an improvement in overall energy and vitality levels, a decrease in fatigue and an improvement in overall emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

Extreme fatigue is a common symptom among cancer patients, one that often cannot be remedied by increased rest or sleep.

Ginseng has a long history of use in Asian and indigenous American cultures. In modern times, it is most often used to increase energy levels and stamina and to reduce stress or fatigue. It also reportedly can aid in the treatment of cancer and diabetes and can reduce obesity risk.

All of these purported benefits have led ginseng to become the second best-selling herbal supplement in the United States, at $62 million annually. It has even been incorporated into mainstream energy drinks, albeit usually in subclinical doses.

Barton shied away from advising cancer patients to take ginseng supplements. The researchers hope to begin clinical trials by 2008 to find safe ways to incorporate ginseng into cancer treatment.

"While results were promising, we have more research to conduct," Barton said, "Besides, it's just not a good idea to grab the nearest bottle on the supermarket shelf -- consumers need to research the company and the product."

There is wide variability in the quality of Ginseng available on the market today. Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, recommends ginseng from Dragon Herbs (www.DragonHerbs.com), which he calls "premium ginseng meticulously sourced by a high-integrity herbal company."

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