Ginseng in the treatment of fatigue in multiple sclerosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot study

Int J Neurosci. 2013 Jul;123(7):480-6. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2013.764499. Epub 2013 Feb 11.


Background: Fatigue is one of the common complaints of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, and its treatment is relatively unclear. Ginseng is one of the herbal medicines possessing antifatigue properties, and its administration in MS for such a purpose has been scarcely evaluated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ginseng in the treatment of fatigue and the quality of life of MS patients.

Methods: Eligible female MS patients were randomized in a double-blind manner, to receive 250-mg ginseng or placebo twice daily over 3 months. Outcome measures included the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS) and the Iranian version of the Multiple Sclerosis Quality Of Life Questionnaire (MSQOL-54). The questionnaires were used after randomization, and again at the end of the study.

Results: Of 60 patients who were enrolled in the study, 52 (86%) subjects completed the trial with good drug tolerance. Statistical analysis showed better effects for ginseng than the placebo as regards MFIS (p = 0.046) and MSQOL (p ≤ 0.0001) after 3 months. No serious adverse events were observed during follow-up.

Conclusions: This study indicates that 3-month ginseng treatment can reduce fatigue and has a significant positive effect on quality of life. Ginseng is probably a good candidate for the relief of MS-related fatigue. Further studies are needed to shed light on the efficacy of ginseng in this field.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / adverse effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Fatigue / complications*
  • Fatigue / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Panax* / adverse effects
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal