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J Clin Pharm Ther. 2006 Aug;31(4):331-4.

Effects of sun ginseng on subjective quality of life in cancer patients: a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial.

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Department of Psychiatry, Gil Medical Center, Gachon Medical School, Namdong-gu, Incheon, South Korea.



Ginseng has been reported to increase mental and physical abilities, improve mood and promote general health and well-being. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of sun ginseng (SG) on quality of life in cancer patients.


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial was performed for 12 weeks. Fifty-three patients were randomly assigned to SG 3000 mg a day (n = 32) or placebo (n = 21) in a 3 : 2 ratio. Patients' diagnoses were gynecologic cancer (n = 28), hepatobiliary cancer (n = 13) and other cancers (n = 12). Quality of life was assessed using the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment-Bref (WHOQOL-BREF) and the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12).


After 12 weeks of therapy, the 'psychological domain' score of the WHOQOL-BREF was significantly improved in patients randomized to SG, compared with those randomized to placebo (P = 0.02). There was a tendency for SG to improve the 'physical health' (P = 0.06) and 'environment' (P = 0.07) domain scores of the WHOQOL-BREF, compared with placebo. The GHQ-12 total score was significantly improved in patients treated with SG than in those with placebo (P < 0.01). No significant adverse events were observed in both groups of patients.


Sun ginseng was found to be beneficial in improving some aspects of mental and physical functioning after 12 weeks of therapy in cancer patients, who were mainly diagnosed with gynaecologic cancer or hepatobiliary cancer. Further studies are required to evaluate the long-term effects of SG on multiple facets of quality of life in various cancer patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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