Oral ginseng formulae for stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a systematic review

Respir Med. 2011 Feb;105(2):165-76. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2010.11.007. Epub 2010 Dec 13.


Ginseng alone or combined with other herbs has been increasingly used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This review aims to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of oral Ginseng formulae for stable COPD. Four English databases and three Chinese databases were searched to identify randomized controlled trials. Methodological quality was assessed by Cochrane risk of bias and Jadad's scale. Data were analyzed using Review Manager 5.0. Twelve studies overall of low quality, involving 1560 participants were included. Results of three studies showed a mean difference (MD) of 0.30 (95%CI 0.02 to 0.58) for forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) improvement of Ginseng formulae versus placebo control. Findings of three studies revealed an MD of 9.43 (95%CI 3.64 to 15.21) of FEV(1) % predicted between Ginseng formulae and placebo control. Quality of life (Qol) measured by St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire was improved (MD -10.32, 95%CI -14.99 to -5.65) with Ginseng formulae plus pharmacotherapy versus pharmacotherapy alone in one study. There were no severe adverse events reported. Ginseng formulae for stable COPD patients show promising evidence of lung functions and Qol improvement. However, the degree of benefit is uncertain due to potential risk of bias of the included studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / drug effects
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Panax*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Plant Preparations