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Ginseng intake and mortality

Jun. 20, 2022, 8:00 AM

by Leigh MacMillan

The herbal supplement ginseng has been used in Asian countries to promote longevity and health for more than 2,000 years, but the impact of ginseng consumption on mortality is still unclear. 

Wei Zheng, MD, PhD, MPH, and colleagues analyzed ginseng consumption and death in 56,138 female participants with nearly 15 years of follow-up in the ongoing prospective Shanghai Women’s Health Study. 

They report in the Journal of Epidemiology that regular ginseng use was associated with reduced total (all-cause) mortality. They found that longer duration of ginseng use (greater than six years versus never used) was associated with reduced total mortality and mortality from cardiovascular disease and other causes. They did not find an association between the amount of ginseng consumption and mortality outcomes. 

The findings suggest that regular ginseng intake for its perceived health benefits, particularly over a long duration, is associated with decreased risk of death from all causes, from cardiovascular disease, and from certain other diseases.

Other authors of the study include Pranoti Pradhan, MPH, MA, Wanqing Wen, MD, Hui Cai, MD, PhD, Yu-Tang Gao, MD, Gong Yang, MD, PhD, and Xiao-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, MPH. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant CA182910).

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