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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  • Recent Comments

    Ginseng’s effect on the immune system

    The first two months of the official 2008 (October to mid-May) U.S. flu season show low activity so far.

    But that’s not likely to curtail sales of ginseng. It’s is the most popular herbal product in the U.S., according to a survey in 2002, published here and reviewed here.

    Dr. David Kieffer, who at the time was a fellow in the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, has published a review in American Family Physician. It’s detailed, but very readable. Here are his findings on the effects of standardized Panax ginseng extract Ginsana (G115) on white blood cells and their immune system activity.

    • 25% of healthy volunteers treated with G115 showed enhanced chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and increased total lymphocyte count, including T helper cells
    • Healthy volunteers taking G115 showed enhanced efficacy of polyvalent influenza vaccine (ie, lower incidence of influenza and colds, higher antibody titers, and higher natural killer cell activity levels)
    • Patients with acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis treated with antibiotics plus ginseng showed faster bacterial clearance vs antibiotics alone

    See the review article for more information on safety and dosing.

    One last thought. This is a good example of what can be demonstrated when standardized formulations of herbals are available for study.

    8/19/06 16:22 JR

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