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Ginseng has been shown to significantly enhance NK function in healthy subjects and those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome or AIDS (P < 0.01) (See et al 1997).

Ginseng polysaccharide injection has been shown, in a randomised study, to improve immunity in 130 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma and to reduce adverse reactions to radiotherapy compared with controls (Xie et al 2001).

Red ginseng powder has been shown to restore immunity after chemotherapy and reduce the recurrence of stage III gastric cancer. The 5-year disease-free survival and overall survival rates were significantly higher in patients taking the red ginseng powder during postoperative chemotherapy versus control (68.2% vs 33.3%, 76.4% vs 38.5%, respectively, P < 0.05). Despite the limitation of a small number of patients (n = 42), these findings suggest that red ginseng powder may help to improve postoperative survival in these patients. Additionally, red ginseng powder may have some immunomodulatory properties associated with CD3 and CD4 activity in patients with advanced gastric cancer during postoperative chemotherapy (Suh et al 2002). Vaccine adjuvant activity Ginseng extract (100 mg ginsan G11 5/day) improved the response to an influenza vaccine in a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled two-arm study of 227 subjects. Compared with vaccine without the ginseng, the addition of ginseng resulted in fewer cases of influenza and common cold. Ginseng increased NK activity and increased antibody production (Scaglione et al 1996).

The addition of 2 mg ginseng dry extract per vaccine dose has been shown to potentiate the antibody response of commercial vaccines without altering their safety. The enhancing effect of ginseng was demonstrated during the vaccination of pigs against porcine parvovirus and Erysipelothrix r/ius/opaf/i/ae infections using commercially available vaccines (Rivera et al 2003).

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