Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on Cognitive and Motor Function: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial.
Hye-Bin Yeo, Ho-Kyoung Yoon, Heon-Jeong Lee, Seung-Gul Kang, Ki-Young Jung, Leen Kim
It’s time for some more Ginseng writing. Today’s article is going to highlight work done by Hye-Bin Yeo et al in their article titled:
"Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on Cognitive and Motor Function: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial"
Panax Ginseng, also known as Korean Ginseng has a wide range of properties including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and immune-stimulatory. What this means is that Ginseng has a stabilizing effect on human physiology.
From Yeo’s article we learn that after 2 weeks of Ginseng supplementation significant decreases were observed in P300 ERP latencies in the Korean Ginseng group, suggesting improved cognitive function. But what does it really mean?
First of all, ERP stands for an event-related potential and it is a measured brain response, which is a direct result of a specific event (e.g. cognitive, sensory, or motor event). We are looking here at electrophysiological responses to stimuli, which provide a noninvasive way to evaluate brain function. Measurements can be taken thanks to EEG, which detects changes in brain electric activity through electrodes attached to the scalp. How cool is that?
I can already picture brain-controlled devices. Can you imagine thinking about a cup of coffee, going to the kitchen… and coffee is already waiting for you because the coffee machine was able to recognise the brain wave pattern? Mind blowing… Anyway, going back to P300 ERP…
The P300 wave is considered to reflect an information processing cascade associated with attention and memory mechanisms. In patients with decreased cognitive ability, the amplitude is smaller and latency is longer when compared to age-matched controls. P300 latency is supposed to reflect stimulus evaluation time and P300 amplitude reflects task relevance.
To make sense of it all – after 2 weeks of Ginseng supplementation, the stimulus evaluation time was reduced in Korean Ginseng test group, which could mean improved cognitive performance. Keep in mind, the word ‘could’ is key here, cause when the two groups were compared using a Neurocognitive Function Test there were no statistically significant differences between them. As part of the test, Yeo checked vigilance, reaction time, and fine motor skills.
However, this was a small study, so a larger sample size would be required to confirm these results. Also, two weeks of supplementation is not that long, so results could be more pronounced with a chronic use of Korean Ginseng.
Some food for thought for you – do you see any improvements after just two weeks of supplementation?
Dr Bart Alright