C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein created by the liver in response to inflammation. It is typically considered a marker of heart disease, but can be associated with cancer, infections and other conditions related to inflammatory concerns.
Red ginseng, an adaptogenic herb used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, is often part of a supplemental regimen for stress relief, daily energy, and libido, but it has a broad spectrum of effects, too. In this case, researchers found that the botanical consistently appeared to reduce CRP levels, which may be due to its overall anti-inflammatory effects.
Although red ginseng is popular as a supplement, finding ginseng with effective levels of compounds known as noble ginsenosides can be difficult. Those rare compounds were mostly a hallmark of wild-crafted forms of Panax ginseng that are no longer available. Additionally, commercially available ginseng products are often sourced from fields that have seen heavy pesticide and chemical use.
However, innovations in pesticide-free ginseng cultivation combined with traditional steaming practices do allow for a safe red ginseng with a broad spectrum of compounds, including rare, noble ginsenosides. It pays to search carefully for a ginseng supplement that has been produced with a high level of care for both the environment and the people who can most benefit from it.
Saboori S, Falahi E, Yousefi Rad E, Asbaghi O, Khosroshahi MZ. Effects of ginseng on C-reactive protein level: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019;45:98‐103. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2019.05.021
Objective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to assess effects of ginseng supplementation on CRP/hs-CRP levels in clinical trial studies.
Design: A systematic literature search was carried out for clinical trials published in ISI web of Science, Scopus, PubMed and Cochrane Library databases from the beginning to 16th February 2018. Of 83 articles found in the first step of the systematic search, seven studies with nine arms included in this meta-analysis.
Results: Results of pooled random-effect size analysis of nine trials showed non-significant decreasing effects of ginseng supplementation on CRP level (WMD: -0.1 mg/l, 95% CI, -0.26, 0.1; P = 0.27) with significant heterogeneity shown within the studies. The subgroup analysis showed that ginseng supplementation could significantly reduce CRP level by 0.51 (95% CI: -0.68, -0.34; P < 0001, test for heterogeneity: P = 0.44, I2 = 0.0%) in patients with a baseline serum CRP level of greater than 3 mg/dl. Trial duration and dose of ginseng supplementation included no significant effects on CRP level in this meta-analysis.
Conclusion: Results of the current meta-analysis study have shown that ginseng supplementation can decrease significantly serum CRP/hsCRP levels in patients with elevated serum level of this inflammatory marker.
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