Red ginseng reduced cholesterol, CVD risk in postmenopausal women
The efficacy of red ginseng as an alternative therapy for postmenopausal women showed marked improvements to total and LDL cholesterol, as well as carotid intima-media thickness, according to a double blind, randomized controlled trial.
Sun Young Kim, MD, researcher in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Gangnam Severance Hospital at the Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea, and colleagues designed a trial that evaluated the effects of red ginseng on menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors.
“This study demonstrates that [red ginseng] has beneficial effects on menopausal women. In addition, [red ginseng] decreased total cholesterol, LDL-C, and [carotid intima-media thickness]. Therefore, [red ginseng] could be an attractive herbal dietary supplement for the relief of menopausal symptoms and the prevention of CVD, especially for women who are unable to receive HT or for whom HT is not recommended,” the researchers wrote in the study.
The 12-week study included 72 postmenopausal women aged 45 to 60 years with menopausal symptoms, amenorrhea for at least 12 months and who had not used HT for the past 6 months, the researchers wrote. Sixty-three participants completed the full trial.
Thirty-one participants in the red ginseng group were assigned two capsules three times per day. Thirty-two placebo participants were assigned capsules identical in shape, composed of 95.25% cornstarch, 4% ginseng aromatic powder, 0.15% natural dye and 0.6% caramel dye, the researchers wrote. Each group was administered the doses for the duration of the 12-week study.
Although serum estradiol levels were not affected by the red ginseng supplement, the red ginseng group experienced a valid decrease in total cholesterol (P=.009) and LDL cholesterol (P=.015).
Further studies are needed to examine the potential dangers or adverse effects of red ginseng, researchers said.
Disclosure: Dr. Kim reported support from a 2009 grant from the Korean Society of Ginseng, funded by the Korea Ginseng Corporation. No additional relevant financial disclosures were reported.