We investigated the clinical effects of Korean red ginseng on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Eighteen subjects aged between 6 and 14 diagnosed with ADHD based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition diagnosis criteria were enrolled. Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) at 1,000 mg b.i.d. was administered to the subjects for 8 weeks. Eighteen children completed the questionnaire and clinical assessment by visiting the hospital at baseline, then in the first, fourth and eighth weeks. Clinical assessments were performed by using the ADHD Diagnostic System (ADS, a computerized attention assessment program), the abbreviated Conners' rating scale in addition to psychiatric interviews. After 8 weeks, significant differences were found in the omisssion errors of ADS (78.56±43.33 at baseline, 55.17±21.44 at 8 weeks, p<0.023), Conners ADHD Rating Scale (13.78±6.32 at baseline, 9.50±4.80 at 8 weeks, p<0.042) and Spielberger State Anxiety Scale (30.94±6.25 at baseline, 28.83±6.23 at 8 weeks, p<0.024). In the Korean Personality Inventory for Children, a significant reduction of score was found in the physical development scale (56.44±9.63 at baseline, 50.94±8.91 at 8 weeks, p<0.017) and social dysfunction scale (56.33±6.82 at baseline, 51.94±7.13 at 8 weeks, p<0.025). These results suggest that Korean red ginseng may be effective in improving inattentiveness in ADHD children, but it remains uncertain if it improves the general severity of ADHD, depression, anxiety personality and behavioral changes.
Keywords: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); Child; Korean red ginseng; Panax ginseng.