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Ginseng trials for Alzheimer's disease
Lane Simonian
Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2015 3:36 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 4998

Here are the results from the most recent trial for ginseng (a ginseng decoction) for Alzheimer's disease.

Effect of ninjin'yoeito, a Kampo (traditional Japanese) medicine, on cognitive impairment and depression in patients with Alzheimer's disease: 2 years of observation

  1. Chiaki Kudoh1,2,*,
  2. Ryutaro Arita2,*,
  3. Mitsuru Honda3,
  4. Taichi Kishi4,
  5. Yasuhiro Komatsu5,
  6. Hiroaki Asou2 and
  7. Masaru Mimura2

Article first published online: 27 APR 2015



Only a few approved drugs are capable of alleviating the cognitive and behavioural symptoms of people living with Alzheimer's disease (AD). In recent years, however, the number of studies examining the clinical effects of herbal medicines on cognitive function in patients with AD has increased considerably. This study evaluated the long-term effects of a traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo medicine) known as ninjin'yoeito (NYT) on cognitive impairment and mood status in patients with AD over a 2-year period.


Twenty-three patients with mild-to-moderate probable AD according to the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association criteria were included. Each participant had exhibited an insufficient response to treatment with donepezil alone before the start of the trial. Eleven patients received treatment with donepezil alone, and the remaining patients received a combined treatment of donepezil and NYT for 2 years. Patients were assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive component-Japanese version for cognitive function, and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory was used to evaluate the patients' mood status at baseline and every 6 months for 2 years.


The Mini-Mental State Examination results showed no significant differences between the two groups. Significant improvements were observed on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive component-Japanese version and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory depression scores of patients who received the combined therapy with donepezil and NYT (Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive component-Japanese version, 12 months: P P = 0.04, 24 months: P P P


A 2-year follow-up of patients receiving donepezil and NYT treatment showed an improved cognitive outcome and alleviation of AD-related depression.

This can be compared with the results of two earlier trials with ginseng:

J Ginseng Res. 2011 Nov; 35(4): 457–461.

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.

2012 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print]

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.