A new study by scientists at the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and the Mayo Clinic has reportedly revealed that the supplement Wisconsin Ginseng can boost energy levels in cancer patients. Debra Barton, et al., “Wisconsin Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) to Improve Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial, N07C2,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute, July 13, 2013.

“In a phase III clinical trial, researchers studied 364 patients who had completed cancer treatment or were being treated for cancer at one of 40 community medical centers. They divided 364 patients into two groups; one group received a placebo and the other received 2,000 milligrams of Wisconsin Ginseng each day for two months. At the beginning of the study, both groups ranked their fatigue, on average, 40 out of 100. After eight weeks, the group that took Wisconsin Ginseng reported a 20-point increase in energy levels and noted “higher vitality levels and less interference with activity due to fatigue.”

Calling the studies “promising,” Catherine Alfano, deputy director at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, reportedly noted that they are not enough to support physician recommendations that patients use the supplement and that more research needs to be done. “It is not yet known how ginseng may interact with drugs or with cancer treatment itself— another reason [why] patients should not go out and use it to medicate themselves just yet,” she added. See Reuters.com, August 15, 2013.