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Need Better Focus? Try Red Ginseng!

According to a Gallup poll, 79 percent of Americans are stressed in some way – that’s about 8 out of 10 people. Perhaps you’re one of them. Over time, that stress has a depleting effect on daily energy levels, focus, and overall quality of life.

Red ginseng may help. Prepared from the roots of the plant, Panax ginseng has been used as an herbal tonic for thousands of years, helping people feel more focused, vibrant, and alert.

This two-week clinical study compared a hydroponically-grown red ginseng (HRG80), a leading white ginseng supplement from Europe, and a placebo. This was a crossover clinical study, so all participants were subjects in all three study arms.

The people in this study had a higher than normal level of occupational stress, but not so high as to be a diagnosable disorder. Their occupations ranged from social services, tele-operators, engineers, and IT personnel who are frequently overloaded with cognitive tasks and exposed to workplace and social demands.

Participants took a standardized, timed test called the d2 Test of Attention, to assess their ability to focus and concentrate. They took the test in the morning, and again after a hard day’s work, and the scores were compared.

For individuals in the placebo group, the d2 error rate actually increased to about 11 more than baseline. Individuals in the red ginseng group saw positive results on the first day, improving to a peak by the fifth day. The white ginseng supplement performed slightly better than the placebo, but not by much. Those taking red ginseng also noted that their attention and focus were more acute into the afternoon, while the power of the standard white ginseng began to fade.

Many people struggle with staying on task when they are feeling stressed, especially toward the end of the day. This study showed that red ginseng – which doesn’t contain caffeine – may help enhance concentration and energy throughout the day.


Mariage PA, Hovhannisyan A, Panossian AG. Efficacy of Panax ginseng Meyer Herbal Preparation HRG80 in Preventing and Mitigating Stress-Induced Failure of Cognitive Functions in Healthy Subjects: A Pilot, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial. Pharmaceuticals 2020. 13;57.

Background: The aim of this pilot study was to compare the efficacy of hydroponically cultivated red Panax ginseng Meyer root preparation (HRG80) and traditionally harvested six-year-old white P. ginseng standard preparation (PGS) with placebo in preventing symptoms of stress.

Methods: The effects of HRG80, PGS, and placebo capsules were studied in 50 tired healthy subjects in a three-arm, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Efficacy-outcome measures included the accuracy of processing the d2 test for cognitive functions, obtained accuracy score in a computerized memory test, and the perceived-stress (PS) score.

Results: A statistically significant interaction effect between time and treatment (p < 0.0001) was observed in the attention d2 and memory tests, indicating that HRG80 treatment was more beneficial than that with a placebo. The effects of PGS were better than those of the placebo, but the difference was not statistically significant. There was significant difference between the effects of HRG80 and PGS (p < 0.0001) that were observed after single (Day 1) and repeated administrations on Days 5 and 12 of treatment.

Conclusion: Overall, HRG80 treatment was significantly superior compared to that with the PGS and placebo regarding attention, memory, and PS scores after single and repeated administrations for 5 and 12 days.

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
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