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“This article has been retracted as it is essentially identical in content with a previously published paper: Wu Z, Luo JZ, Luo L. “American ginseng modulates pancreatic beta cell activities.” Chin Med. 2007 Oct 25;2:11.”

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 6, Issue 4, Pages 423-427

Ginseng on Hyperglycemia: Effects and Mechanisms

1PLME Department of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
2The Center for Stem Cell Biology, Department of Research, Roger Williams Hospital, Boston University, Medical School, 825 Chalkstone Avenue, Providence, RI 02908, USA

Received 5 July 2007; Accepted 6 August 2007

Copyright © 2009 John Zeqi Luo and Luguang Luo. 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.


It has been reported that American ginseng attenuates hyperglycemia and may present itself as a supplement to diabetes therapy. However, the lack of standardization in the usage of ginseng root leads to inconclusive results when applied to diabetes treatment. The mechanisms of American ginseng root in the treatment of diabetes remains a mystery. This greatly limits the effective utilization of American ginseng in facilitating diabetic therapy. Initiating studies have shown that American ginseng increases insulin production and reduces cell death in pancreatic β-cells. Also, studies have revealed American ginseng's ability to decrease blood glucose in type II diabetes patients as well as in streptozotocin-induced diabetic animals (STZ-diabetic mice). These data suggest that effects of ginseng in improving hyperglycemia may alter mitochondrial function as well as apoptosis cascades to ensure cell viability in pancreatic islet cells. This review briefly summarizes current knowledge of ginseng components and clinical studies related to diabetes. Further research will be needed to explore and identify the component(s) of ginseng, which may be responsible for the beneficial effects observed in animal studies which could then be extrapolated to human islets.