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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018, Article ID 1843142, 7 pages
Review Article

A Review of Ginseng Clinical Trials Registered in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform

Center for Drug Clinical Research, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jihan Huang; nc.ude.mctuhs@nahijgnauh

Received 18 October 2017; Revised 30 December 2017; Accepted 4 January 2018; Published 6 February 2018

Academic Editor: Kumud K. Kafle

Copyright © 2018 Yingchun He et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although ginseng has long been broadly used in clinical settings around the world, few clinical trials on ginseng have been conducted. The objective of this study was to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the characteristics of ginseng clinical trials registered in the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) as of December 2017 regarding their frequency, design, type of ginseng, dosage, duration, condition, funding sources, and publication status. A total of 134 ginseng clinical studies were registered from 2002 to 2017, of which 60.4% were completed and 23.1% are actively recruiting participants. A large number of trials were associated with aspects of high-quality trial design. Overall, 94% of the trials employed randomized allocation to study arms, 78.4% were double-blind studies using placebo as one of the control groups, and 71% were published as completed trials. Trials whose sample size was restricted to fewer than 100 participants accounted for 74.7% of the total. Of the primary funding sources for ginseng studies, 67.2% were nonindustry organizations. The ginseng clinical trials were heterogeneous with respect to ginseng species and variety, indications, dose, duration, and participant characteristics. Clearly, stricter and methodologically suitable studies are needed to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of ginseng.