Ginseng of no benefit in COPD

Ginseng has no impact on the quality of life of people living with moderate COPD, a randomised trial concludes.

The 24 week trial involved 168 patients with moderate COPD seen at five centres in Australia and China who were randomised to receive 100mg of internationally recognised standard extract of ginseng twice a day or placebo.

Results showed that while the herbal supplement was safe, both groups had similar improvements in quality of life at the end of the study.

“Overall the magnitude of ginseng’s benefit was small, but in keeping with other studies that have assessed moderate (GOLD 2) COPD, showing that improvement or deterioration occurs at similar rates in treatment and placebo groups,” the study authors wrote in Thorax.

They noted that clinical studies of herbal medicines were often challenged by their ability to generalise and translate findings into clinical practice.

“Participants selected for this study had moderate COPD and a Chinese medicine diagnosis of lung qi deficiency with or without spleen and kidney qi deficiency… this ensured the results could be translated into Chinese medicine clinical practice and conventional medicine clinical practice,” they said.

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