Ginseng (the root of Panax ginseng Meyer) is a deciduous perennial plant that belongs to the Araliaceae family. The root of panax ginseng contains ginsenosides which are biologically active compounds. The chemical analysis showed that the content of ginsenosides is related to the source, part and growth years of Panax ginseng. Ginsenosides, are thought responsible for ginseng’s health benefits. Researches shows that Panax ginseng may improve performance on such things as memory, concentration, mental arithmetic, and other measures.
Panax Ginseng and Mental Performance
This plant stimulates the formation of blood vessel and develops blood circulation in the brains, thus improving memory and cognitive abilities. Several findings have showed that panax ginseng improves mental performance, especially during times of stress. Some researches have also found a favorable effect with the combination of Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng.
In a study of sixteen healthy males found positive changes in ability to perform mental arithmetic in those given ginseng for twelve weeks. A study of 20 healthy young participants who received a single 400-mg dose of ginseng found improvement in cognitive performance, secondary memory performance, speed of performing memory tasks, and accuracy of attentional tasks. In a study of 50 men found that eight-week therapy with a Panax ginseng improved ability in completion of a detail-oriented editing task. More comprehensive effects were seen in a study involving sixty elderly participants. Scientists found that 50 or 100 days of therapy with ginseng produced improvements in numerous measures of mental function, including memory, attention, concentration, and ability to cope. Effects were still evident at the 50-day follow-up. A study of 384 postmenopausal women who were randomized to receive placebo or ginseng for sixteen weeks demonstrated improvements in three subsets of a Psychological General Well-Being index.
In a 2006 study reported in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology“, 27 healthy young participants completed a 10 minute “cognitive demand” test. Use of ginseng demonstrated an enhanced performance. In one study of 112 healthy participants older than 40 years, the application of 400 mg per day of the standardized panax ginseng extract for 8 weeks resulted in better and faster simple reactions and abstract thinking. Both Panax ginseng and Ginkgo biloba exert a number of physiological effects and have been shown to modulate aspects of cognitive performance. A 2000 study in “Psychopharmacology” demonstrated that a combination of ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng may help improve memory in healthy middle-aged adults. Those with Alzheimer’s disease reversed mental decline and continued to improve mental ability while taking P. ginseng, in a study. Researchers in this study said that recent experiments suggest Panax ginseng improves memory in Alzheimer’s disease and wanted to test mental ability in those with Alzheimer’s disease.The doctors gave about 60 subjects 4500 mg of ginseng per day while observing another 40 participants who did not take ginseng for twelve weeks. At 4 weeks, those in the ginseng group had improved mental test scores by approximately 3% while the non-ginseng group had declined by approximately 2%. At twelve weeks, the ginseng group had improved by approximately 5% while the non-ginseng group still demonstrated a slight decline. Mental scores returned to original levels when patients stopped taking Panax ginseng. Doctors concluded, “ginseng is clinically effective in the cognitive performance of Alzheimer’s disease patients.”