Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on Cognitive and Motor Function: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial

  • Yeo, Hye-Bin (Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Yoon, Ho-Kyoung (Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Lee, Heon-Jeong (Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Kang, Seung-Gul (Department of Psychiatry, Gachon University School of Medicine) ;
  • Jung, Ki-Young (Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, Korea University Anam Hospital) ;
  • Kim, Leen (Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine)
  • Received : 2011.07.26
  • Accepted : 2012.01.18
  • Published : 2012.04.15


Ginseng has a long history of use for health enhancement, and there is some evidence from animal studies that it has a beneficial effect on cognitive performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of Korean red ginseng on cognitive performance in humans. A total of 15 healthy young males with no psychiatric or cognitive problems were selected based on an interview with a board-certified psychiatrist. The subjects were randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of 4,500 mg red ginseng or placebo for a 2-week trial. There were 8 subjects in the red ginseng group and 7 subjects in the placebo group. All of the subjects were analyzed with the Vienna test system and a P300 event-related potential (ERP) test. There were no significant differences in the Vienna test system scores between the red ginseng group and the placebo group. In the event-related potential test, the C3 latency of the red ginseng group tended to decrease during the study period (p=0.005). After 2 wk, significant decreases were observed in the P300 latencies at Cz (p=0.008), C3 (p=0.005), C4 (p=0.002), and C mean (p=0.003) in the red ginseng group. Our results suggest that the decreased latency in ERP is associated with improved cognitive function. Further studies with a higher dosage of ginseng, a larger sample size, and a longer follow-up period are necessary to confirm the clinical efficacy of Korean red ginseng.


Panax ginseng;Cognitive and motor function;Evoked potentials;Korean red ginseng;Vienna test system


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