Ginseng reduces fatigue and increases vitality in cancer patients, according to a new Mayo Clinic study, one of the first studies to evaluate a Wisconsin species of ginseng as a possible therapy for cancer-related fatigue. Many cancer patients experience extreme fatigue after diagnosis and during treatment. Other than exercise, there is no current solution available for patients to minimize fatigue.
“We hope that Wisconsin ginseng may offer us a much-needed treatment to improve our patients’ quality of life, and we look forward to further evaluation,” says Debra Barton, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic cancer researcher and the study’s primary investigator. “Cancer-related fatigue is one of the most profound and distressing issues patients face. This unique type of fatigue can have dozens of causes, and for patients who have completed cancer therapy, fatigue is among their foremost concerns, second only to disease recurrence.”
Ginseng may be an effective addition to currently available therapies. Cancer patients experience psychological and physiological stressors ranging from diagnosis to chemotherapy and radiation. . More than 90 percent of people with cancer suffer from extreme lethargy and low energy levels before, during or after treatment. Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes ginseng’s therapeutic potential. As an adaptogen, ginseng contains a substance that aids the body in overcoming effects of environmental stress.
The investigators enrolled 282 patients with breast, colon and other types of cancer in a randomized, placebo-controlled eight-week trial. Patients who received large daily doses of ginseng showed improvements in overall energy levels, reporting higher vitality levels and less interference with activity from fatigue in comparison with patients receiving low doses or placebo. They also reported an improvement in overall mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy, can effectively treat many common health conditions. For more information contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.