Ginseng for the treatment of diabetes and diabetes-related cardiovascular complications: a discussion of the evidence 1

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2019 Apr;97(4):265-276. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2018-0440. Epub 2018 Nov 5.


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic metabolic disorder associated with elevated blood glucose levels due either to insufficient insulin production (type 1 DM) or to insulin resistance (type 2 DM). The incidence of DM around the world continues to rise dramatically with more than 400 million cases reported today. Among the most serious consequences of chronic DM are cardiovascular complications that can have deleterious effects. Although numerous treatment options are available, including both pharmacological and nonpharmacological, there is substantial emerging interest in the use of traditional medicines for the treatment of this condition and its complications. Among these is ginseng, a medicinal herb that belongs to the genus Panax and has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal agent especially in Asian cultures. There is emerging evidence from both animal and clinical studies that ginseng, ginseng constituents including ginsenosides, and ginseng-containing formulations can produce beneficial effects in terms of normalization of blood glucose levels and attenuation of cardiovascular complications through a multiplicity of mechanisms. Although more research is required, ginseng may offer a useful therapy for the treatment of diabetes as well as its complications.

Keywords: cardiovascular complications; complications cardiovasculaires; diabetes; diabète; ginseng.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Complications / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Panax / chemistry*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents