Evaluation of the ergogenic properties of ginseng

Sports Med. 1994 Oct;18(4):229-48. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199418040-00003.


Ginseng has been used for several thousand years in the Orient as a tonic, prophylactic agent and 'restorative'. However, its efficacy has been established primarily through clinical experience as opposed to scientific verification of its pharmacological effects. Ginseng has been used by athletes as an ergogenic aid for many years, but there is an absence of compelling research evidence in support of its use for this purpose. Indeed, most of the support favouring the use of ginseng to enhance physical performance is of a testimonial nature. While studies with animals show that ginseng or its active components may prolong survival to physical or chemical stress, there is, generally, a lack of controlled research demonstrating the ability of ginseng to improve or prolong performance in fatigued humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / adverse effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Fatigue / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Panax* / classification
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Work / physiology


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal