Siberian Ginseng good or myth?

I have a sports multivitamin that contains Siberian ginseng. Is this any good? I have read up on it and it claims to be good for athletes, yet it has a side effect of drowsiness?

That contradiction in itself makes me question it.

Well, consider that various meta-analyses of ginseng studies have shown that ginseng doesn’t do anything…

Are you asking about specific types of ginseng from a particular region or whether ginseng has medicinal value? I always heard that Manchurian ginseng was the “best” but YMMV.

wikiis your friend for the rest of it.

Its wiki page cites a bunch of published studies that found it decreased fatigue in cancer patients and facilitates both libido and erectile functioning. Various studies also found it helped protect against radiation in chemotherapy, has anticarcinogenic properties and has benefitted diabetics in the regulation of blood sugar levels. It does mention that the results of other studies have been mixed, so I presume other studies found no benefits, but we’re talking about published, randomized, double-blind trials that found it has significant benefits in a number of ways.

I haven’t seen any studies that show it has particular benefits for athletes though, so I wouldn’t bother with it. There’s other supplements that have been shown to benefit athletes if that’s what you want - creatine and caffeine for instance.

Ginseng is said to be neutralized by Vitamin C so it seems rather pointless to add it to a multivitamin, I wouldn’t say drowsiness is caused by the Siberian version however it’s said to less stimulating than the asian variety, I guess you’d call it strengthening rather than stimulating, they are different herbs, totally different taste and colour. Personally I found the red varieties to have little effect despite the hype but felt the siberian variety had some small benefit.

There are studies confirming it’s anti endurance properties on pubmed. There is also a study that states it’s a good sleep aid.

Really? This college sports FAQ claims the most common side effect of ginseng is insomnia, although without citing a source.

Systematic reviews looking at the quality and significance of those trials have not been so kind to ginseng and its advocates.

Before purchasing any ginseng product I’d want to know if the ginseng was harvested from a legitimate farming operation, as opposed to being stripped from a wild population (ginseng populations have been ravaged by over-collection and survival in the wild threatened).

From everything I’ve read about ginseng, Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and Korean (Panax schinsen) sp of Panax is not nearly as potent as Panax quinquefolius - common name American ginseng.
“Like Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng), American ginseng contains dammarane-type ginsenosides as the major biologically active constituents. Dammarane type ginsenosides include two classifications: the 20(S)-protopanaxadiol (ppd) and 20(S)-protopanaxatriol (ppt) classifications. American ginseng contains high levels of Rb1, Rd (ppd classification) and Re (ppt classification) ginsenosides—higher than that of P. ginseng in one study.”

The wild stuff is so rare, illegal collectors are looking to cash in on this, as many people will pay this higher price on the black market. The farmed stuff is cheap, (I buy it myself, can recommend a good Wisconsin farm I have personally done business with for over a decade, if anyone’s interested) and if one is concerned about authenticity… from the wiki article…

I take back the study that states it’s a good sleep aid, I misread.

The information is very interesting. It is new knowledge for me.