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Hypoglycaemic/antihyperglycaemic effects Human and animal studies have found American ginseng to lower blood glucose level (Vuksan et al 2000a, b, c, Vuksan et al 2001a, b). Results for Korean ginseng are less consistent (Sievenpiper et al 2003, 2004). Both ginseng root and berry (1 50 mg/kg) have been shown to significantly decrease fasting blood glucose levels in hyperglycaemic rats (Dey et al 2003). Intraperitoneal administration of glycans (polysaccharides known as panaxan) and other unidentified compounds have demonstrated hypoglycaemic activity in both normal and alloxan-induced hyperglycaemic mice (Waki et al 1982).

Oral administration of P. ginseng root (125.0 mg/kg) three times daily for three days reduced hyperglycaemia and improved insulin sensitivity in rats fed a high-fructose chow suggesting a possible role in delaying or preventing insulin resistance (Liu et al 2005). However, these doses are very high and human trials need to be conducted to confirm these results.

Diabetic complications Aqueous extract of ginseng was shown to exert no significant effect on weight in normal rats, while it prevented weight loss in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. Cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus of diabetic rats was increased by ginseng treatment, but it had no effect on cell proliferation in normal rats. These results suggest that ginseng may help reduce the long-term central nervous system complications of diabetes mellitus (Lim et al 2002b).

According to experimental studies ginseng may also inhibit the formation of glycated hemoglobin due to its anti-oxidative activity (Bae & Lee 2004).

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