In part two, I look specifically at ginseng’s reputed abilities to help people who have type 2 diabetes. And there are not a few of them. Read on for a look at some of the more recent studies into this ancient herb.
The evidence is culled from the period 1995 through 2006. It pertains to ginseng’s potential ability to treat type 2 diabetes. The key to this ability is ginseng’s potential ability to lower blood sugar levels.
1995: Either 100 or 200 milligrams (mg) of ginseng were used in diabetics who were not treated with drugs or dietary changes. In two months, ginseng lowered fasting blood sugar and body weight. With no side effects, it also improved physical energy.
2000: Either three, six, or nine grams of ground-up American ginseng were used in 10 diabetic patients. It effectively reduced post-study glucose levels, and the effect of each dose was the same — so the three-gram dose worked just as well as the nine-gram dose.
2000: On the heels above the above study, this one tested the three-gram dose of ground-up American ginseng, specifically, on nine diabetic patients. Researchers found that the herb again reduced glucose levels. (One patient developed insomnia, the only side effect.)
2000: Again that dose of American ginseng was tested over 18 weeks on 24 diabetic patients. It reduced fasting blood sugar and another key measure of diabetes.
2006: For 12 weeks, six grams of Korean red ginseng were compared to placebo in 19 diabetics. With no side effects, the herb did reduce post-study blood sugar levels.
Now, although these are promising, I should note that most of these studies came from the same group of researchers, and used a small number of patients. As usual, the results need to be confirmed with better-designed study involving a larger number of patients.
Diabetic patients can work with their doctor to see if taking a variety of ginseng could be the right move. Check first before you try, in case your doctor believes the herb could disrupt any drugs you might be taking. The American variety seems best, and there has even been a study that found Asian ginseng to have no effect on blood sugar levels.
(Read Part 1 of The Truth About Ginseng’s Power)