Cancer is an ugly disease that can be difficult and challenging to treat. Finding the right
treatment, or enduring certain treatments, can be equally difficult and challenging. Currently,
treatments like chemotherapy and radiation treatment remain the gold standard in cancer care.
However, these treatments come with their own set of limitations. For example, chemotherapy
and radiation both cause uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects that can leave a cancer
patient feeling worse than before they started treatment. Even worse, cancer can adapt to these
treatments and become resistant to them, leaving cancer patients with fewer options for care.
That’s why new treatments are being investigated every day: because there’s a constant need
for new ways to tackle cancer. One source of potential cancer treatments stems from natural
herbs and remedies, which focus on taking a more natural approach to treating cancer, rather
than pumping the body full of toxic chemicals.
Keep reading to learn more about one possible natural approach to treating cancer, ginseng,
and how it could work as a cancer therapy.
What is ginseng?
Ginseng is a compound found in the root of certain types of plants. These plants include roots of
the Panax genus, which includes Korean, South Korean, and American Ginseng.
While ginseng has a number of uses in cooking and baking, it also has a number of useful
health and medical uses, as well.
What role does ginseng play in our health?
The source of ginseng’s health benefits is derived from certain compounds found in plant roots;
specifically, ginsenosides and gintonin. These compounds give ginseng a range of health
benefits. Here are some of the key health benefits that ginseng offers:
- Helps improve energy
- Reduces blood sugar and cholesterol to acceptable levels
- Helps reduce stress and make you feel more relaxed.
- Addresses sexual dysfunction in men
It’s important when looking at products with ginseng to note how much is in a product. Often
times, the amount may be so small that it has no discernable effect on a person’s health.
How does ginseng help with cancer?
Ginseng may have anticancer properties, highlighting its potential as a cancer treatment option.
In particular, it’s been shown to be a chemoprophylactic, which means it may hold potential as a
way to prevent someone from developing cancer altogether.
For example, some studies have shown that ginseng do the following for cancer cells:
- Taking over regulation of the cell cycle, taking the steering wheel away from the cancer cell itself. This prevents the cancer cell from controlling when to multiply and spread
- Preventing tumor cells from forming and invading other parts of the body
- Prompting apoptosis (or programmed cell death).
Is ginseng an effective treatment for cancer?
While there is little research that’s been conducted in humans, there is promising evidence
emerging about the use of ginseng to treat different aspects of cancer and having this
destructive disease. Here’s what some research suggests:
- Could work as a cancer prevention tool. One study found that taking ginseng could actually significantly reduce the likelihood of someone developing cancer.
- Improves cancer patient quality of life. Studies have also explored the use of ginseng
as a way to treat chemotherapy-related fatigue and improve overall quality of life in
patients. For example, one study found that ginseng improve the wellbeing of patients
with breast cancer. Patients saw improvement in areas such as psychological and social
Is ginseng a safe treatment for cancer?
Generally speaking, ginseng has a pretty decent safety exposure. However, experts have
questioned whether prolonged use of ginseng (e.g., over six months) is safe. It’s also unclear if
its safe to consume more than the recommended amount. Too much ginseng may lead to
certain symptoms, such as headaches and stomach problems.
It’s also recommend that the following people avoid ginseng:
- Children and infants
- People who are pregnant
With any type of cancer treatment, it’s important to make sure you fully understand the available
treatment options and choose options that work for you. This should include talking to your
doctor before starting any cancer treatment. They can help you decide which treatment options
are right for you.