An extract of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium A) can improve immunity. The authors did a study of having people take 2 capsules daily of either North American ginseng or a placebo for 4 months. Records were kept of the number of colds, the duration of the colds and the severity in a study that commenced at the beginning of the flu season.
The American ginseng extract was effective in reducing the risk of the subjects of getting colds for the test period. The number of colds per person was reduced. The number of days that the subjects had symptoms was reduced by 34.5%. The ginseng showed activity across a broad range of viral strains.
North American ginseng is known to increase immunoglobulins and natural killer cell (NK) activity. The extract used contained 80% poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharides and each capsule contained 200 mg. of the extract.
CONCLUSION: “Ginseng products may be useful in preventing some viral upper respiratory infections.” Testing for safety has not been done in children or immune compromised patients.
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