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      Preventive Effect of Korean Red Ginseng for Acute Respiratory Illness: A Randomized and Double-Blind Clinical Trial


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          Korean Red Ginseng (KRG) is a functional food and has been well known for keeping good health due to its anti-fatigue and immunomodulating activities. However, there is no data on Korean red ginseng for its preventive activity against acute respiratory illness (ARI). The study was conducted in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial in healthy volunteers (Clinical Trial Number: NCT01478009). Our primary efficacy end point was the number of ARI reported and secondary efficacy end point was severity of symptoms, number of symptoms, and duration of ARI. A total of 100 volunteers were enrolled in the study. Fewer subjects in the KRG group reported contracting at least 1 ARI than in the placebo group (12 [24.5%] vs 22 [44.9%], P = 0.034), the difference was statistically significant between the two groups. The symptom duration of the subjects who experienced the ARI, was similar between the two groups (KRG vs placebo; 5.2 ± 2.3 vs 6.3 ± 5.0, P = 0.475). The symptom scores were low tendency in KRG group (KRG vs placebo; 9.5 ± 4.5 vs 17.6 ± 23.1, P = 0.241). The study suggests that KRG may be effective in protecting subjects from contracting ARI, and may have the tendency to decrease the duration and scores of ARI symptoms.

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          Antioxidant and anti-tumor promoting activities of the methanol extract of heat-processed ginseng.

          Heat treatment of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer at a temperature higher than that applied to the conventional preparation of red ginseng yielded a mixture of saponins with potent antioxidative properties. Thus, the methanol extract of heat-processed neoginseng (designated as 'NGMe') attenuated lipid peroxidation in rat brain homogenates induced by ferric ion or ferric ion plus ascorbic acid. Furthermore, the extract protected against strand scission in phiX174 supercoiled DNA induced by UV photolysis of H2O2, and was also capable of scavenging superoxide generated by xanthine-xanthine oxidase or by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) in differentiated human promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) cells. Topical application of NGMe onto shaven backs of female ICR mice 10 min prior to TPA, significantly ameliorated skin papillomagenesis initiated by 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene. Moreover, TPA-induced enhancement of epidermal ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity and ODC mRNA expression was abolished by a topical dose (0.68 mg) of NGMe. Likewise, TPA-induced production of tumor necrosis factor- in mouse skin was inhibited by NGMe pretreatment.
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            Immune system effects of echinacea, ginseng, and astragalus: a review.

            Traditional herbal medicine provides several remedies for strengthening the body's resistance to illness through effects on immune system components. This review article examines 3 popular herbal immune stimulants that are often of interest to cancer patients. Echinacea, a native of North America, is widely used to prevent, or provide early treatment for, colds. Preclinical studies lend biological plausibility to the idea that echinacea works through immune mechanisms. Numerous clinical trials have been carried out on echinacea preparations: it appears that the extracts shorten the duration and severity of colds and other upper respiratory infections (URIs) when given as soon as symptoms become evident. However, trials of long-term use of echinacea as a preventive have not shown positive results. Ginseng has been studied in some depth as an antifatigue agent, but studies of immune mechanisms have not proceeded so far. Preclinical evidence shows some immune-stimulating activity. There have been several clinical trials in a variety of different diseases. Astragalus is the least-studied agent. There are some preclinical trials that show intriguing immune activity. The herbs discussed appear to have satisfactory safety profiles. Cancer patients may wish to use these botanicals to inhibit tumor growth or to boost resistance to infections. However, passive immunotherapy with herbs, with no mechanism to expose tumor antigens, is unlikely to be effective in inhibiting tumor growth. Although the margin of safety for these herbs is large, more research is needed to demonstrate the clear value of using herbs to improve resistance to infections.
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              Efficacy of an extract of North American ginseng containing poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharides for preventing upper respiratory tract infections: a randomized controlled trial.

              Upper respiratory tract infections are a major source of morbidity throughout the world. Extracts of the root of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) have been found to have the potential to modulate both natural and acquired immune responses. We sought to examine the efficacy of an extract of North American ginseng root in preventing colds. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study at the onset of the influenza season. A total of 323 subjects 18-65 years of age with a history of at least 2 colds in the previous year were recruited from the general population in Edmonton, Alberta. The participants were instructed to take 2 capsules per day of either the North American ginseng extract or a placebo for a period of 4 months. The primary outcome measure was the number of Jackson-verified colds. Secondary variables measured included symptom severity, total number of days of symptoms and duration of all colds. Cold symptoms were scored by subjects using a 4-point scale. Subjects who did not start treatment were excluded from the analysis (23 in the ginseng group and 21 in the placebo group), leaving 130 in the ginseng group and 149 in the placebo group. The mean number of colds per person was lower in the ginseng group than in the placebo group (0.68 [standard deviation (SD) 0.82] v. 0.93 [SD 0.91], difference 0.25%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.04-0.45). The proportion of subjects with 2 or more Jackson-verified colds during the 4-month period (10.0% v. 22.8%, 12.8% difference, 95% CI 4.3-21.3) was significantly lower in the ginseng group than in the placebo group, as were the total symptom score (77.5 [SD 84.6] v. 112.3 [SD 102.5], difference 1.5%, 95% CI 1.2-2.0) and the total number of days cold symptoms were reported (10.8 [SD 9.7] v. 16.5 [SD 13.8] days, difference 1.6%, 95% CI 1.3-2.0) for all colds. Ingestion of a poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharide-rich extract of the roots of North American ginseng in a moderate dose over 4 months reduced the mean number of colds per person, the proportion of subjects who experienced 2 or more colds, the severity of symptoms and the number of days cold symptoms were reported.

                Author and article information

                J Korean Med Sci
                J. Korean Med. Sci
                Journal of Korean Medical Science
                The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences
                December 2012
                07 December 2012
                : 27
                : 12
                : 1472-1478
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea.
                [2 ]Department of Preventive Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea.
                [3 ]Research Institute of Clinical Medicine of Chonbuk National University and Chonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju, Korea.
                [4 ]Clinical Trial Center for Functional Foods, Chonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju, Korea.
                [5 ]Institute of Jinan Red Ginseng, Jinan, Korea.
                [6 ]R & D Center of CheonJiYang Co., Ltd., Seoul, Korea.
                [7 ]Korea Food Research Institute, Seongnam, Korea.
                [8 ]Healthcare Claims and Management, Jeonju, Korea.
                Author notes
                Address for Correspondence: Chang-Seop Lee, MD. Department of Internal Medicine, Chonbuk National University Medical School, 20 Geonji-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju 561-180, Korea. Tel: +82.63-250-2391, Fax: +82.63-254-1609, lcsmd@ 123456jbnu.ac.kr
                © 2012 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 01 June 2012
                : 03 October 2012
                Original Article
                Infectious Diseases, Microbiology & Parasitology

                ginseng,influenza,prevention and control,symptom duration,safety
                ginseng, influenza, prevention and control, symptom duration, safety


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