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Panax ginseng clinical trials: Current status and future perspectives

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Durand Dah-Nouvlessounon, 1 Hubert Adoukonou-Sagbadja, 2 Nafan Diarrassouba, 3 Haziz Sina, 1 Adolphe Adjanohoun, 4 Mariam Inoussa, 1 Donald Akakpo, 1 Joachim D. Gbenou, 5 Simeon O. Kotchoni, 6 Mamoudou H. Dicko, 7 and Lamine Baba-Moussa 1 

Abstract

Panax Ginseng has been widely used in Asian for thousand years. In order to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ginseng, more and more ginseng clinical trials (GCTs) have been conducted recently. However, there is a lack of an extensive review summarizing the current status for the quality and quantity of ginseng clinical researches until now. Therefore, clinical trials for ginseng were retrieved from International Clinical Trials Registration Platform and collected through the system retrieval method of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses in PubMed, the Web of Science, the Korean Studies Information Service System, and SCOPUS database. We summarized the clinical characteristics of 152 registered ginseng clinical trials (R-GCTs) and119 published ginseng clinical trials (P-GCTs), such as source register, recruitment status, primary purpose, duration, sample size, conditions, and outcomes. Among them, ginseng has mainly been studied in clinical trials in the single-center and less than 200 subjects. In the most GCTs, healthy subjects and patients with various conditions, such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases are administrated with ginseng, ginsenosides or the prescriptions containing ginseng for less than 3 months to investigate the protective and therapeutic functions of ginseng. 95 (79.8 %) published articles showed that ginseng has plenty of positive effects. This review could assist the basic researchers and clinical doctors to understand current status and problem of ginseng clinical research, and perhaps could benefit for the reasonable and accurate design of future clinical studies.

1. Introduction

Panax ginseng (ginseng) is called “Ren Shen” in China, due to its shape resembling as an upright humanoid. “Ren” means humans in Chinese, therefore it can be seen that ginseng has inextricably linked to the human body and plays an important role in regulating human health and treating different diseases [1,2]. In the long years of medical development of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or modern medicine, ginseng has been applied in different types, like combined in a formula, or Korean red ginseng, a thermal-processed ginseng, has been reported with various beneficial effects, such as anti-stress, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic functions [3].

This is attributed to the fact that ginseng contains many pharmacological active ingredients, including ginsenosides, carbohydrate, phytosterolpolyacetylene, polyphenols, polysaccharidesorganic acid, amino acid, vitamin, and minerals, each of which can play a potential function in the protection and treatment of many diseases [[4][5][6][7]]. Although ginseng has been widely used all over the world for thousands of years [1,8], its function has not been explained systematically [9,10]. In recent decades, more and more researchers are trying to conduct clinical trials to investigate the efficacy and safety of ginseng administration in different subjects [11]. However, there is a lack of an extensive review summarizing the current status of ginseng clinical researches until now. Most reports for the summaries of ginseng clinical researches are systematic reviews for one type of disease, such as hypertension [12], type 2 diabetes [13], and Alzheimer’s disease [14]. Only one review we found reported the status of ginseng clinical trials (GCTs) registered in the World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registration Platform (ICTRP) until December 2017 [11]. Therefore, it is necessary to make a comprehensive and updated analysis for the quantity and quality of GCTs to evaluate the current status of ginseng researches [15,16].

In this review, we first retrieved the registered ginseng clinical trials (R-GCTs) in trial registries of ICTRP with standardized process requirements. Some finished registration items did not update their results in time in the WHO platform. Then, we compiled the published ginseng clinical trials (P-GCTs) over the past 20 years through the system retrieval method of Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) in a series of public databases [17]. Taken together, we summarized basic clinical characteristics and disease classification of the subjects in ongoing and completed clinical researches of ginseng to update current status and discussed its challenges and future perspectives of GCTs. This review could assist the basic researchers and clinical doctors to understand current status and problem of ginseng clinical researches, and perhaps could benefit for the reasonable and accurate design of future clinical studies.

Reference:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332220310258

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