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Ginseng for Alzheimer's disease
Lane Simonian
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2019 10:22 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 4599

This from a recent patent review of ginseng from Alzheimer's disease touches all the bases:

The gathered data represented outstanding merits of ginseng in treatment of neurodegenerative and neurological disorders. These effects have been mediated by neurogenesis, anti-apoptotic and antioxidant properties, inhibition of mitochondrial dysfunction, receptor-operated Ca2+ channels, amyloid beta aggregation, and microglial activation as well as neurotransmitters modulation. However, these compounds have limited clinical application of for the prevention or treatment of neurodegenerative and neurological disorders. This might be due to incomplete data on their clinical pharmacokinetic and toxicity properties, and limited economic investments. There is an increasing trend in use of herbal medicines instead of chemical drugs, so it is time to make more attention to the application of ginseng, the grandfather of medicinal plants, from basic sciences to patients’ bed.

The following clinical trial results were not placebo-controlled nor double-blinded, but suggest that ginseng can be used to treat Alzheimer's disease:

 2012 Nov;15(6):278-82. doi: 10.1179/1476830512Y.0000000027.

Heat-processed ginseng enhances the cognitive function in patients with moderately severe Alzheimer's disease.



Ginseng has been reported to improve cognitive function in animals and in healthy and cognitively impaired individuals. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of a heat-processed form of ginseng that contains more potent ginsenosides than raw ginseng in the treatment of cognitive impairment in patients with moderately severe Alzheimer's disease (AD).


Forty patients with AD were randomized into one of three different dose groups or the control group as follows: 1.5 g/day (n = 10), 3 g/day (n = 10), and 4.5 g/day (n = 10) groups, or control (n = 10). The Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were used to assess cognitive function for 24 weeks.


The treatment groups showed significant improvement on the MMSE and ADAS. Patients with higher dose group (4.5 g/day) showed improvements in ADAS cognitive, ADAS non-cognitive, and MMSE score as early as at 12 weeks, which sustained for 24-week follow-up.


These results demonstrate the potential efficacy of a heat-processed form of ginseng on cognitive function and behavioral symptoms in patients with moderately severe AD.

. 2011 Nov; 35(4): 457–461.

Jae-Hyeok Heo, Soon-Tae Lee, Min Jung Oh, Hyun-Jung Park, Ji-Young Shim, Kon Chu, and Manho Kim

Improvement of Cognitive Deficit in Alzheimer’s Disease Patients by Long Term Treatment with Korean Red Ginseng

A 24-week randomized open-label study with Korean red ginseng (KRG) showed cognitive benefits in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. To further determine long-term effect of KRG, the subjects were recruited to be followed up to 2 yr. Cognitive function was evaluated every 12 wk using the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS) and the Korean version of the Mini Mental Status Examination (K-MMSE) with the maintaining dose of 4.5 g or 9.0 g KRG per d. At 24 wk, there had been a significant improvement in KRG-treated groups. In the long-term evaluation of the efficacy of KRG after 24 wk, the improved MMSE score remained without significant decline at the 48th and 96th wk. ADAS-cog showed similar findings. Maximum improvement was found around week 24. In conclusion, the effect of KRG on cognitive functions was sustained for 2 yr follow-up, indicating feasible efficacies of long-term follow-up for Alzheimer’s disease.

Lane Simonian
Posted: Friday, August 16, 2019 7:50 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 4599

Here is another promising clinical trial in which panax ginseng was one of the plants used.

Composing of Radix polygonum multiflorum preparata, Panax ginseng, Acorus gramineus, Coptis chinensis, and Ligusticum wallichii, Huannao Yicong Decoction (HYD) is a clinical protocol, which is used to treat the elderly patients with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease in Xiyuan Hospital of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences...

Effect and Safety of Huannao Yicong Formula () in Patients with Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer's Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Donepezil-Controlled Trial.


A total of 52 patients completed the trial, 28 in HYF group and 24 in donepezil group. Compared with the baseline, HYF and donepezil significantly decreased the total scores of ADAS-Cog and CM-SS, and significantly increased the scores of MoCA and MMSE after 6-month treatment (all P<0.01). Both treatments remarkably reduced the serum levels of AchE and Aβ42 (both P<0.05). The CM-SS total effective rate of HYF was significantly higher than donepezil [75.00% (21/28) vs. 54.17% (13/24), P<0.05]. No severe adverse events were observed in both groups.


HYF is effective and safe for improving the cognitive function in mildto-moderate AD patients.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2019 11:50 AM
Joined: 2/17/2019
Posts: 246

That is ridiculously good news.
Lane Simonian
Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2019 12:40 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 4599

That was my feeling, too.  I would not say the future looks bright, but it is starting to look a lot better based on a number of "alternative" treatments for Alzheimer's disease.