ginseng | supplement

Panax Ginseng: Does it Really Help Memory?

What is Panax Ginseng?

Panax Ginseng is a plant that grows in Korea, northeast China, and eastern Siberia. Only the root is used to make the dietary supplement. There are many different types of ginseng each having different health benefits. The ginseng family has many different types, such as, American ginseng, Blue Cohosh, Siberian ginseng, etc. The most popular ginseng sold in the United States is Panax Ginseng. Panax Ginseng is known for general well-being.

How Do People Use Panax Ginseng?

Panax Ginseng is generally taken orally as a dietary supplement or tonic for improving well-being. However there are studies testing the effectiveness of panax ginseng as a topical cream.

The Effectiveness of Panax Ginseng

Sexual Wellness for Men and Women. There are strong scientific evidence suggesting panax ginseng can improve sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction (1-4). Panax Ginseng has been tested as an ingredient in combination with other natural ingredients to formulate a topical cream for premature ejaculation. It seemed to work well (5). One study shows that Korean Red Ginseng, a specific form of Panax Ginseng, could improve sexual arousal in post menopausal women (6).

Alzheimer’s Disease. Taking Panax Ginseng daily for 12 weeks can improve mental performance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (7-8).

Cold and Flu. Some evidence suggests that taking a specific Panax Ginseng seems to reduce the risk of getting a cold or flu. However, taking Panax Ginseng does not seem to reduce flu symptoms or length of illness (9-10)

Mental Function. There is some evidence that combining Panax ginseng and ginkgo leaf extract can improve memory in healthy adults from ages 38-66 (11-14). However, when Panax Ginseng is taken by itself, it has not been shown to improve memory.

More Evidence is Needed!

Panax Ginseng has been taken for years to treat everything from anemia to cancer to hot flashes. However, more evidence is needed if you are looking to take Panax Ginseng for these types of conditions:

  • Memory
  • Cancer, especially breast cancer
  • The Common Cold
  • Pre-diabetes and Diabetes
  • Heart Failure
  • Gallbladder
  • Hangover
  • Hearing Loss
  • Fibromyalgia and other nerve pain
  • High Blood Pressure
  • HIV
  • Depression
  • Wrinkled Skin
  • Joint Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety


Always consult with your health care professional before taking Panax Ginseng. Panax Ginseng can be unsafe when mixed with alcohol because it could increase how fast your body removes alcohol. Caffeine and Panax Ginseng should be avoided because it can speed up your nervous system causing you to feel more jittery and rapid heartbeat.

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(1) Hong B, Ji YH, Hong JH, et al. A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of Korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction: a preliminary report. J Urol 2002;168:2070-3.

(2) Jang, D. J., Lee, M. S., Shin, B. C., Lee, Y. C., and Ernst, E. Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review. Br.J Clin.Pharmacol. 2008;66(4):444-450.

(3) Kim, T. H., Jeon, S. H., Hahn, E. J., Paek, K. Y., Park, J. K., Youn, N. Y., and Lee, H. L. Effects of tissue-cultured mountain ginseng (Panax ginseng CA Meyer) extract on male patients with erectile dysfunction. Asian J Androl 2009;11(3):356-361.

(4) Choi YD, Park CW, Jang J, Kim SH, Jeon HY, Kim WG, Lee SJ, Chung WS. Effects of Korean ginseng berry extract on sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction: a multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical study. Int J Impot Res 2013;25(2):45-50.

(5) Choi HK, Jung GW, Moon KH, et al. Clinical study of SS-Cream in patients with lifelong premature ejaculation. Urology 2000;55:257-61.

(6) Oh, K. J., Chae, M. J., Lee, H. S., Hong, H. D., and Park, K. Effects of Korean red ginseng on sexual arousal in menopausal women: placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover clinical study. J Sex Med 2010;7(4 Pt 1):1469-1477.

(7) Heo, J. H., Lee, S. T., Chu, K., Oh, M. J., Park, H. J., Shim, J. Y., and Kim, M. An open-label trial of Korean red ginseng as an adjuvant treatment for cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Eur.J Neurol. 2008;15(8):865-868.

(8) Lee, S. T., Chu, K., Sim, J. Y., Heo, J. H., and Kim, M. Panax ginseng enhances cognitive performance in Alzheimer disease. Alzheimer Dis.Assoc.Disord. 2008;22(3):222-226.

(9) Scaglione F, Cattaneo G, Alessandria M, Cogo R. Efficacy and safety of the standardized Ginseng extract G115 for potentiating vaccination against the influenza syndrome and protection against the common cold. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1996;22:65-72.

(10) Lee CS, Lee JH, Oh M, Choi KM, Jeong MR, Park JD, Kwon DY, Ha KC, Park EO, Lee N, Kim SY, Choi EK, Kim MG, Chae SW. Preventive effect of Korean red ginseng for acute respiratory illness: a randomized and double-blind clinical trial. J Korean Med Sci 2012;27(12):1472-8.

(11) Scholey AB, Kennedy DO. Acute, dose-dependent cognitive effects of Ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng and their combination in healthy young volunteers: differential interactions with cognitive demand. Hum Psychopharmacol 2002;17:35-44.

(12) Wesnes KA, Ward T, McGinty A, Petrini O. The memory enhancing effects of a Ginkgo biloba/Panax ginseng combination in healthy middle-aged volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2000;152:353-61.

(13) Wesnes KA, Faleni RA, Hefting NR, and et al. The cognitive, subjective, and physical effects of a Ginkgo biloba/Panax ginseng combination in healthy volunteers with neurasthenic complaints. Psychopharmacol Bull 1997;33(4):677-683.

(14) Kennedy DO, Scholey AB, and Wesnes KA. Differential, dose dependent changes in cognitive performance following acute administration of a Ginkgo biloba/Panax ginseng combination to healthy young volunteers. Nutr.Neurosci. 2001;4(5):399-412.


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