Korean Red Ginseng and neuropathy: recent research studies

Korean Red Ginseng has a long history as a supplement for treating many conditions with mixed results.

One web site summarizes its benefits as, “Ginseng may strengthen the immune system, enhance brain function, fight fatigue and improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction.”

Another source cautions, “Since ginseng may cause trouble sleeping, do not take it near bedtime. Ginseng should not be used for long periods. Asian ginseng should not be used for more than 3 months at a time, and Siberian ginseng should not be used for more than 2 months at a time.”

Anecdotal reviews cite some of the dangers of self-administering herbal supplements such as ginseng, because the risks may be greater than the rewards. That said, after consultations with medical professionals, Korean Red Ginseng has shown some promise in clinical settings.

An recent review titled Effects of Ginseng on Neurological Disorders states, “Ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer), a famous traditional medicinal herb, has been widely used for many centuries. Numerous studies have shown that ginseng has a positive effect on the prevention and treatment of neurological disorders.”

The authors conclude “Ginsenoside Rg1, as the main component of ginseng, possess plenteous biological activity, like anti-depression, anti-Alzheimer’s disease, anti-Parkinson’s disease and protect neurons.”

A deeper dive would be necessary to find out how the ginseng was administered, the dosages taken, side effects, long-term consequences, drug interactions, and similar issues. Professional medical guidance is mandatory before self-medicating.

An earlier review from Italy says, “The use of Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius in traditional Chinese medicine dates back to about 5000 years ago thanks to its several beneficial and healing properties. Over the past few years, extensive preclinical and clinical evidence in the scientific literature worldwide has supported the beneficial effects of P. ginseng and P. quinquefolius in significant central nervous system, metabolic, infectious and neoplastic diseases.”

European researchers discovered the effectiveness of ginseng can depend on how it’s processed.

“The aim of this pilot study was to compare the efficacy of hydroponically cultivated red Panax ginseng Meyer root preparation (HRG80) and traditionally harvested six-year-old white P. ginseng standard preparation (PGS) with placebo in preventing symptoms of stress.”

“Overall, HRG80 treatment was significantly superior compared to that with the PGS and placebo regarding attention, memory, and PS scores after single and repeated administrations for 5 and 12 days.”

The primary European use for ginseng isn’t specifically aimed at treating neuropathy as such, “In Europe, most ginseng preparations are used as a general tonic or adaptogen in cases of fatigue, weakness, and decreased mental and physical capacity.”