Ginseng and anticancer drug combination to improve cancer chemotherapy: a critical review

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:168940. doi: 10.1155/2014/168940. Epub 2014 Apr 30.


Ginseng, a well-known herb, is often used in combination with anticancer drugs to enhance chemotherapy. Its wide usage as well as many documentations are often cited to support its clinical benefit of such combination therapy. However the literature based on objective evidence to make such recommendation is still lacking. The present review critically evaluated relevant studies reported in English and Chinese literature on such combination. Based on our review, we found good evidence from in vitro and in vivo animal studies showing enhanced antitumor effect when ginseng is used in combination with some anticancer drugs. However, there is insufficient clinical evidence of such benefit as very few clinical studies are available. Future research should focus on clinically relevant studies of such combination to validate the utility of ginseng in cancer.

Publication types

  • Review