We conducted a meta-analysis to investigate the efficacy of ginseng supplements on fatigue reduction and physical performance enhancement as reported by randomized controlled trials (RCTs). RCTs that investigated the efficacy of ginseng supplements on fatigue reduction and physical performance enhancement compared with placebos were included. The main outcome measures were fatigue reduction and physical performance enhancement. Out of 155 articles meeting initial criteria, 12 RCTs involving 630 participants (311 participants in the intervention group and 319 participants in the placebo group) were included in the final analysis. In the fixed-effect meta-analysis of four RCTs, there was a statistically significant efficacy of ginseng supplements on fatigue reduction (standardized mean difference, SMD = 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.16 to 0.52). However, ginseng supplements were not associated with physical performance enhancement in the fixed-effect meta-analysis of eight RCTs (SMD = -0.01; 95% CI = -0.29 to 0.27). We found that there was insufficient clinical evidence to support the use of ginseng supplements on reducing fatigue and enhancing physical performance because only few RCTs with a small sample size have been published so far. Further lager RCTs are required to confirm the efficacy of ginseng supplements on fatigue reduction.
Keywords: Fatigue; Ginseng Supplements; Meta-analysis; Physical Performance; Randomized Controlled Trial.