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J Ginseng Res. 2011 Jun;35(2):170-5. doi: 10.5142/jgr.2011.35.2.170.

Korean red ginseng powder in the treatment of melasma: an uncontrolled observational study.

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Department of Dermatology, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Busan 602-739, Korea.


Exposure to the sun, ultraviolet radiation, and oxidative stress are the chief etiologic factors responsible for melasma. The ingredients of Korean red ginseng powder, which include ginsenoside and phenolic compounds, have antioxidative effects and reduce ultraviolet B-induced pigmentation. This study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of Korean red ginseng powder in patients with melasma. In 25 female patients, 3 g of Korean red ginseng powder was orally administered for a 24 week period. The level of pigmentation and erythema were determined and clinical improvement was evaluated by the melasma area and severity index (MASI), melasma quality of life scale (MELASQoL), and patient- and investigator-rated global improvement scale. After 24 weeks, the MASI score decreased from 8.8 to 5.6, and MELASQoL showed improvement in 91% of patients (p<0.05). The mean level of pigmentation decreased from 184.3 to 159.7 and erythema levels decreased from 253.6 to 216.4 (p<0.05). Additionally, 74% of the patients showed some improvement in both patient- and investigator-rated global improvement scales at week 24. Korean red ginseng powder was well tolerated by most of the patients. In conclusion, Korean red ginseng powder showed good tolerability and beneficial effects in patients with melasma. The use of Korean red ginseng would be counted as a useful adjunctive therapy for patients with melasma.


Antioxidants; Ginsenosides; Korean red ginseng; Melanosis; Panax ginseng

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