Effects of ginseng ingestion on growth hormone, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin-like growth factor 1 responses to acute resistance exercise

J Strength Cond Res. 2002 May;16(2):179-83. doi: 10.1519/1533-4287(2002)016<0179:eogiog>2.0.co;2.


Ginseng, an herbal plant, has been ingested by many athletes in Oriental regions of the world in order to improve stamina and to facilitate rapid recovery from injuries. However, adequate investigation has not been conducted to examine the ergogenic effects of ginseng. To examine the effects of ginseng supplements on hormonal status following acute resistance exercise, eight male college students were randomly given water (control; CON) or 20 g of ginseng root extract (GIN) treatment immediately after a standardized exercise bout. Venous blood samples were drawn before and immediately after exercise and at 4 time points during a 2-hour recovery period. Human growth hormone, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels were determined by radioimmunoassay. The responses of plasma hormones following ginseng consumption were not significant between CON and GIN treatments during the 2-hour recovery period. These results do not support the use of ginseng to promote an anabolic hormonal status following resistance exercise.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Growth Hormone / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Panax*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteins / drug effects
  • Testosterone / blood*
  • Weight Lifting / physiology


  • Plant Extracts
  • Proteins
  • Lactic Acid
  • Testosterone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Growth Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone