The purpose of this double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation was to examine the effects of a Korean Ginseng (GINST15) on measures of perception and physical performance following an acute bout of resistance exercise. Ten women (age: 38.7 ± 7.8 years; height: 1.64 ± 0.05 m; body mass: 76.0 ± 11.6 kg) and nine men (age: 41.2. ± 9.7 years; height: 1.77 ± 0.05 m; body mass: 88.5 ± 5.0 kg) completed the investigation. Participants were randomized to a three-cycle testing scheme consisting of high dose ginseng (HIGH: 960 mg/day), low dose ginseng (LOW: 160 mg/day) and placebo (PBO: 0 mg/day). After 14 days of supplementation participants returned to the laboratory for an acute resistance exercise trial (5 sets of 12 repetitions of the leg press at 70% of one-repetition-maximum [1RM]). Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were assessed after each set. Muscle pain/soreness was assessed before exercise and 24 hours post exercise. Psychomotor performance and peak power were measured before exercise, immediately post exercise and 24 hours after exercise. Each treatment cycle was separated by a minimum one-week washout period. HIGH significantly reduced perceived exertion during exercise. HIGH and LOW significantly reduced change in muscle soreness at 24 hours post exercise. Analysis of peak power demonstrated the presence of responders (n = 13) and non-responders (n = 6). Responders showed a significant effect of HIGH GINST15 on maintenance of neuromuscular function. The appearance of responders and non-responders, could explain the mixed literature base on the ergogenic properties of ginseng.
Keywords: Ginseng; anaerobic exercise; exertion; pain; peak power.