Chun-Su Yuan, MD, PhD, began his presentation recounting how about 30-50% of cancer patients use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), including herbs. The Director of the University of Chicago’s Tang Center for Herbal Medicine, Dr. Yuan gave an interesting talk on his research involving colorectal cancer and ginseng – one of the most studied herbs when it comes to health benefits.
Researchers have identified over 30 major components in ginseng, Studies have shown that ginseng possibly enhances the immune systems, acts as an anti-oxidant, reduces blood glucose level, and has anti-cancer activities.
Laboratory studies by Dr. Yuan and his colleagues have shown ginseng reduces tumor development in mice. Heating ginseng led to even more effective anti-cancer activities. The studies suggest the ginseng herb has potential anti-cancer activities but it needs verification. They will continue laboratory research and hopefully start clinical trials (studies conducted on cancer patients) in the next several years.
But as noted in an AICR column, people with high blood pressure or hypoglycemia are usually warned to be wary of consuming ginseng.