April 3, 2017 – Ginseng and Fatigue


Anchor lead: Does the supplement ginseng help fatigue? Elizabeth Tracey reports

People with HIV, even when the virus is under control, often experience fatigue. Now a new study by Adriana Andrade at Johns Hopkins and colleagues has examined whether ginseng supplements, shown in previous trials in those with cancer to help alleviate fatigue, helps.

Andrade: What we found was that looking at the primary outcome of this study which was the fatigue severity scale, there was not a significant difference between ginseng and placebo, however, when we looked further then we saw impressive and significant improvement on the symptom of fatigue. However there was also a very powerful placebo effect, in other words the subjects who received a placebo had the perception that their fatigue improved significantly as well.   :29

Andrade says that the results relative to the placebo were not surprising and have been observed in many other studies, but do call into question the role of ginseng. She says perhaps additional study with higher doses and/or longer duration may show benefit. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.