A bit off topic, but an interesting study, nonetheless.
It is my opinion, that due to the diverse possitive mental effects, Asian gingseng (Panax gingseng) should be an essential supplement for every martial artist
Ergogenic effects of Asian gingseng (panax gingseng) can be divided into physical performance parameters during exercise (exercise outcomes, physiological changes, metabolic measures and hormonal levels) and mental performance parameters (psychomotor measures, reaction time, mood, cognition, memory and accuracy of repetitive tasks). Physical performance has a large psychological component, as evidenced by the need for placebo controls in human studies. Thus an ergogenic effect of gingseng may be possible by affecting mental aspects without affecting any physical parameters, in essence, generating an effect akin to the placebo effect.
I have ommitted the research assertaining to physical performance enhancement (which show varied/inconsistent results), as the cognitive efects are much more interesting.However, improvements in blood glucose balance are a recurring theme.
HUMAN STUDIES MENTAL EFFECTS
The majority of studies found at least 1 significant change in mental functions from Asian gingseng, however a long duration of administration, appears to be a central condition for efficacy. In general, reaction times to auditory or visual cues improved, fatigue reduced, feelings of well-being improved, and errors on cognitive tasks reduced.
(Popov et al.1973)
-32 Male radio opporators aged 21-23 were given a 2ml daily dose (40% ethanol tincture) over an acute duration. The effects included decreased errors in radio transmission of coded messages (17% vs 31%)
-Elderly men were given 80mg of the Geriatric Pharmaton preparation of Panax, over a duration of 100 days. Effects included improved vitality, alertness, rigidity, concentraion, visual and auditory reaction times
(Schmidt et al. 1978)
540 Subjects injested Gericomplex and G115 over 90 days, which led to improved subjective and objective parameters; normalized blood glucose, and BP
(Dorling et al.1980)
60 volunteers aged 22-80 injested 200mg P-anax gingseng of the G115 fpreparation type for a 12 week period. Positive effects included improved reaction times, subjective assessments of mood, work output, sleep, concentration, vitality.
(Halstrom et al. 1982)
12 subjects aged 30-60 took 200mg of Panax ginseng in the form of Korean white gingseng powder. The 3 day study duration, showed an improved tapping rate test, with positive trends in mood, somatic symptoms, blood glucose and sleep quality
A study of middle-aged people with asthena showed that an 80mg dose of the Geriatric Pharmaton formation, over a 6 months period, led to improved feelings of appetie, feelings of depression, irratability.
(Forgo et al. 1985)
28 proffesional footballers (soccer) aged between 20 and 30 took a 200mg daily dose of G115 preparation type Panax, over a 60 day period. This led to improved visual reaction times
(D'Angelo et al.1986)
32 males, aged 10-24 took 200mg of the G115 Gericomplex standardization over 12 weeks. This led to improved mental arithmetic calculations and a trend towards improved attention, choice reaction time, auditory reaction time, auditory reaction times, tapping test, recognition and visual reaction time.
80mg of Geriatric Pharmaton over 6 months, showed an improvement in psychomotor capabilities and improved neuropyschological measures
(Garraylillo et al. 1992)
103 healthy male subjects aged 40-60 took 80mg gingseng contained within a Pharmaton Complex over a period of 1 year. Experimental outcomes included improved anxiety, depression, vulnerability, blood pressure and bodyweight.
(Sandberg et al. 1994)
50 healthy men took 180mg of Gerimax over 8 weeks, siting improved ability to complete a detail oriented editing task (letter-crossover cognition test) = less errors (-0.16 vs +0.22 P,0.025), speed at which number of lines read in 5 minutes improved.
(Wiklund et al. 1999)
390 middle aged men tok 80mg Gericomplex G115 over 12 weeks. Improved alertness, relaxation, appetite, overall score and generall well-being were sited.
(Smith et al. 1995)
19 women, average age of 26, took 200mg G115 over 8 weeks. improved mood, psychophysical performance, physical activity; reduced fasting blood sugar, glycated hemoglobin and bodyweight were sited.
(Sotaniemi et al. 1995)
36 newly diagnosed diabetics took a 200mg dose of G115. After an 8 week period, Improvements in mood, psychophysical performance, physical activity were seen. In addition reductions in fasting blood sugar, glycated hemoglobin and bodyweight were observed.
(Ussher et al. 1995)
95 middle managers, average age being 39, were given 80mg of Gericomplex over an 8 week period. Improved overall stress (Multi-Modal-Stress-Questionnaire), vigour-activity (POMS) were observed. There was a trend or improved overall mood (POMS), improved physical stress and a decrease in cognitive stress (MMSQ)
(Le Gal et al. 1996)
232 men and women, with lifetime functional fatigue (aged 18-65), took 200mg of G115 over 6 weeks. A decreased fatigue score was noted (2.8 vs 3.7 from each, P=0.019)
(Caso Marasco et al. 1996)
625 subjects with functional fatigue injested 200mg of G115 over 12 weeks.
Improvements quality of life were noted (+11.9 vs +6.4) were noted. A preventitive factor in the accumulation of excess bodyweight (+0.10 vs. +0.84) was noted, as too a dcrease in diastolic blood pressure (-0.14 vs +1.09). However, it took 3 months until the results became significant.
(Sorenson et al. 1996)
112 healthy volunters aged 40-70 took 400mg of Gerimax standardized extract over 8-9 weeks. An improvement in auditory reaction times was observed
(Wiklund et al. 1999)
384 womwn (PMP symptomatic) injested 80mg Gericomplex over 16 weeks. This led to improved depression, well being and health subscales.
(Ziemba et al 1999)
15 male football players (soccer) took 350mg of KRKA preparation type, over 6 weeks. Decreases in reaction timebefore and during cycle exercise to exhaustion shortened (improved psychomotor performance)
(Ussher et al. 2000)
313 healthy volunteers took 80mg Gericomplex over an 8 week period. Outcomes included improved confusion bewilderment (POMS) behavioural strain (mmsq). Restrained eaters subgroup had many improved results.
(Kennedy et al. 2001
20 healthy young men and women took either a 200mg, 400mg or 600mg dose of G115 for 1 week. Accompanying improvements in the quality of memory, and improved secondary memory at the 400mg dose were observed
(Schloley et al. 2002)
20 Healthy adfults, with an average age of 21, took either 3 doses of each (320mg/640mg/960mg) G115 over a 1 week period. Improvements mental arithmetic tasks, with specific dose dependent results were observed.
(Kennedy et al. 2002)
20 subjects, all healthy with an average age of 21, took either 400mg or 960mg of G115 for a brief period. Improvements in secondary performance on CDR tasks were observed, with an incresed speed in the performance of mental tasks and increased accuracy of attentional tasks.
(Ellis et al. 2002)
30 subjects took 200mg of an unspecified preparation over 8 weeks. Improvements in social functioning and mental health (surveyed) were observed. Tellingly 58% of the gingseng subjects thought they were getting the active compound, whildt only 17% of the placebo were of the opinion that they had been supplementing the active compound.
On analysis of the studies, those using the G115 preparation type apperes to be highly ergogenoc. G115 refers to a commercially availiable, proprietry Panax gingseng extract product, containing 200mg gingseng root extract, standardized to 4% ginensides.
Further guidelines for research must be put in place, with independent assays measuring ginsenosides being critical. In addition, contaminating substances, such as caffeine should be prohibited, should the studies aim to be more accurate and succinct. The duration of administration is now shown to be important for studying the effects of Asian gingseng, and perhaps other herbs. Thus, studies lasting eight weeks or less can be criticized for not being of sufficient duration to find potential effects, if none are found. Finally, the need for rigour in experimental design should not be abated.
FINAL NOTE: SHOULD YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE BENEFITS OF GINSENG SUPPLEMENTATION, DO NOT BUY AMERICAN GINSENG. PANAX GINSENG (ASIAN GINSENG) IS THE ONLY VARIETY TO HAVE DEMONSTRATED THE AFOREMENTIONED EFFECTS- AMERICAN GINSENG DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ERGOGENIC.
IF YOU ARE TO SUPPLEMENT WITH ASIAN GINSENG, MAKE SURE THAT IT IS STANDARDIZED TO AT LEAST 4% TOTAL GINSENOSIDES, AND THAT YOU ALLOW AT LEAST 12 WEEKS FOR THE EFFECTS TO BE FULLY FELT.
"You do not truly know someone until you fight them."
- Seraph, The Matrix Reloaded