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A randomised double-blind study involving 232 subjects between the ages of 25 and 60 years found that extract equivalent to about 400 mg ginseng root for 4 weeks significantly improved fatigue. Side-effects were uncommon, with only two subjects withdrawing from the study (Le Gal & Cathebras 1996).

A randomised double-blind study of 83 subjects found that extract equivalent to 1 g ginseng root for 4 months decreased the risk of contracting a common cold or bronchitis, improved appetite, sleep, wellbeing and physical performance (Gianoli & Riebenfeld 1984).

Ginseng is used by many athletes to improve stamina and to facilitate rapid recovery from injuries. To examine the effects of ginseng supplements on hormonal status following acute resistance exercise, eight male college students were randomly given water (control group) or 20 g ginseng root extract treatment immediately after a standardised training exercise. Human growth hormone, testosterone, Cortisol, and insulin-like growth factor 1 levels were determined by radioimmunoassay. The responses of plasma hormones following ginseng consumption were not significant between the control and the ginseng groups during the 2-hour recovery period (YouI et al 2002).

Although ginseng is commonly used to improve endurance, a double-blind study of 19 healthy active women found that 400 mg of a ginseng extract (G11 5) did not > 2007 Elsevier Australia

improve supramaximal exercise performance or short-term recovery. Analysis of variance using pre-test to post-test change scores revealed no significant difference between the ginseng and placebo study groups for the following variables measured: peak anaerobic power output, mean anaerobic power output, rate of fatigue, and immediate post-exercise recovery heart rates (Engels et al 2001 ). A recent study by the same authors also failed to find any benefit from ginseng (400 mg/day G11 5; equivalent to 2 g P. ginseng C.A. Meyer root material for 8 weeks) on improving physical performance and heart rate recovery of individuals undergoing repeated bouts of exhausting exercise (Engels et al 2003).

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