The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Ginseng in diabetes

    The term ginseng refers to Panax genus (Korean, Japanese, and American ginseng) and Eleutherococcus genus (Siberian ginseng). Siberian ginseng is not a true ginseng and cannot be used in place of Panax ginseng.

    Now some research results.

    More than a decade ago Panax ginseng 100 or 200 mg taken daily for eight weeks by 36 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes was associated with improved fasting blood sugar levels. The 200 mg dose also improved hemoglobin A1C (A1c) values.

    The most recent study published last week reported that in patients with well controlled type 2 diabetes, ginseng 2 grams taken three times daily had no effect on A1c. However, these patients started out with A1c levels of 6.5%.

    That’s darn good control to start! Diabetics who keep their A1C levels close to 7% have a better chance of delaying or preventing diabetes complications than those with levels 8% or higher.

    Researchers at the University of Toronto have conducted extensive research on this issue. Their results so far suggest that ginseng works to lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin secretion. Their research also suggests the possibility of a supporting role for American ginseng in controlling blood sugar levels without the fear of hypoglycemia. This last feature may offer a benefit of American ginseng compared to currently used prescription drugs for type 2 diabetes.

    7/25/06 21:20 JR

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