American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) has been reputed in previous medical articles to improve the symptoms of diabetes mellitus. There seem to be no previous well-done clinical studies of American ginseng in diabetes mellitus. The authors of this paper undertook a study to try to verify the benefit of American ginseng in sugar metabolism.
Dr. Vuksan and his group at the University of Toronto showed that American ginseng taken 40 minutes before or with a sugar load reduces the rise in blood sugar. The dose of American ginseng was 3 gm and some of the patients were given 25 gm. of glucose. Some patients were given placebo for the purpose of comparison.
The authors suggest that diabetics should take American ginseng with a meal rather than 40 minutes before to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The authors even suggest that non-diabetics should take American ginseng with a meal to avoid lowering their blood sugars too much. The authors point to previous studies that suggest that better control of blood sugars in non-diabetics may have a preventive effect against the development of diabetes.
The authors suggest that studies should be done to study the link between American ginseng and the body’s production of nitric oxide (NO). There are some previous studies that indicate that NO mediates the effect of American ginseng.
CONCLUSION: Herbalists have long used American ginseng for diabetes mellitus. This study now confirms the benefit of American ginseng in type II diabetes mellitus.
NOTE: Read about the role of American ginseng in cancer prevention.
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