Journal of Metabolic Syndrome

ISSN: 2167-0943

Open Access

Antidiabetic Effects of Ginseng in Humans and Rodents


Zhanxiang Wang and Hongji Zhang

Ginseng, one of the most commonly used herbs worldwide, has known anti-hyperglycemic effects. Twenty-eight (28) studies on diabetic mice and rats from 7 research centers (in 6 different nations) indicate that both Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) are effective anti-hyperglycemic supplements, putatively acting via improvements in insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, islet protection, obesity reduction, antioxidation, energy expenditure, and fat absorption. Investigations in clonal beta-cells (MIN6, RINmF, INS-1, HIT-T15) and non-beta-cells (3T3-L1, C1C12, HepG2) further confirm that ginseng may protect against pancreatic beta-cell apoptosis and promote insulin secretion and glucose uptake. Among 18 human trials from 4 independent groups, 15 are single dose trials; whereas, 4 are long-term trials, with treatment periods lasting longer than 4 weeks. Eleven of the single dose trials observed anti-diabetic effects, while 4 observed no improvements. In the long-term studies, two-thirds of the studies on type 2 diabetic (T2D) patients observed anti-hyperglycemic effects. Based upon the sound evidence from cell lines and animal models, along with the improvements from the majority of human subject trials, ginseng appears to be a potent anti-diabetic supplement. Regardless, more long-term trials on T2D patients are required before ginseng can be safely recommended as a broadly-used anti-diabetic agent.


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