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Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2013 Apr 17;8(4):e61271.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061271. Print 2013.

Antifatigue Effects of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Free PMC article
Randomized Controlled Trial

Antifatigue Effects of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Hyeong-Geug Kim et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


The present study investigated the antifatigue effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer in 90 subjects (21 men and 69 women) with idiopathic chronic fatigue (ICF) in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled and parallel designed trial. A bespoke 20% ethanol extract of P. ginseng (1 g or 2 g day(-1)) or a placebo was administered to each group for 4 weeks, and then fatigue severity was monitored using a self-rating numeric scale (NRS) and a visual analogue scale (VAS) as a primary endpoint. Serum levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), malondialdehyde (MDA), total glutathione (GSH) contents and glutathione reductase (GSH-Rd) activity were determined. After 4-week, P. ginseng administration decreased the total NRS score, but they were not statistically significant compared with placebo (P>0.05). Mental NRS score was significantly improved by P. ginseng administrations as 20.4 ± 5.0 to 15.1 ± 6.5 [95% CI 2.3 ~ 8.2] for 1 g and 20.7 ± 6.3 to 13.8 ± 6.2 [95% CI -0.1 ~ 4.2] for 2 g compared with placebo 20.9 ± 4.5 to 18.8 ± 2.9 [95% CI 4.1 ~ 9.9, P<0.01]. Only 2 g P. ginseng significantly reduced the VAS score from 7.3 ± 1.3 to 4.4 ± 1.8 [95% CI 0.7∼1.8] compared with the placebo 7.1 ± 1.0 to 5.8 ± 1.3 [95% CI 2.2 ~ 3.7, P<0.01]. ROS and MDA levels were lowered by P. ginseng compared to placebo. P. ginseng 1 g increased GSH concentration and GSH-Rd activity. Our results provide the first evidence of the antifatigue effects of P. ginseng in patients with ICF, and we submit that these changes in antioxidant properties contribute in part to its mechanism.

Trial registration: Clinical Research Information Service (CRIS) KCT0000048.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Flow diagram of subject progress through the phases of the RCT.

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This study was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation (and R01-2007-000-11248-0 and 20110003150) from the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.