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J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):921-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0296.

Association between ginseng intake and mortality: Kangwha cohort study.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Kwandong University College of Medicine, Gangneung, Republic of Korea.



Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer is a well-known medicinal herb in North America and Europe. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between ginseng intake and mortality among members of the Korean population.


We followed 6282 subjects who were 55 years of age or older in March 1985 until December 31, 2003. The Cox proportional hazard regression model was used to evaluate effects of ginseng intake on mortality.


Adjusting for age, education, occupation, drinking, smoking, self-reported chronic disease, body mass index, and blood pressure, all-cause mortality for male ginseng users was significantly lower than that for male nonusers (Hazard ratio [HR] = 0.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.81-0.99). However, such an association was not observed in women (HR = 1.03; 95% CI, 0.94-1.13). Cancer-specific mortality was lower in female ginseng users than female nonusers after adjustment of relevant covariates (HR = 0.80; 95% CI, 0.60-1.08). Compared to nonusers, the HR for cancer-specific mortality in women was 0.84 in infrequent users (95% CI, 0.62-1.15) and 0.61 in frequent users (95% CI, 0.32-1.14) (p for trend, 0.09), which is not statistically significant. The cancer-specific mortality was not associated with ginseng intake in male subjects (HR = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.76-1.20). Mortality caused by cardiovascular diseases was not related to ginseng intake in both men and women.


The 18.8-year progressive cohort study showed that ginseng intake decreased all-cause mortality in older males, but such life prolongation effect was not shown in women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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