Efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in the Treatment of Alopecia Areata

  • Oh, Ga-Na (Department of Dermatology, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Son, Sang-Wook (Department of Dermatology, Korea University College of Medicine)
  • Received : 2012.04.02
  • Accepted : 2012.08.14
  • Published : 2012.10.15


Alopecia areata (AA) is an autoimmune disease that can affect any hair-bearing area. AA is known to be caused by immunological disorder but still, the pathogenesis is not fully understood. Many therapeutic modalities have been used to treat alopecia areata, with variable efficacy and safety profiles. Unfortunately, none of these agents is definitely curative or preventive alone. We studied hair growth efficacy and safety of Korean red ginseng (KRG) in AA comparing corticosteroid intra-lesional injection (ILI) alone patient group with ILI with KRG taking patient group using Folliscope 2.5 for 12 wk. Herein, we would like to report the efficacy of KRG in the treatment of AA and recommend KRG as a useful complimentary food for gaining efficacy of treatment for AA.


Supported by : Korea Ginseng Corporation


  1. Safavi K. Prevalence of alopecia areata in the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Dermatol 1992;128:702.
  2. Safavi KH, Muller SA, Suman VJ, Moshell AN, Melton LJ 3rd. Incidence of alopecia areata in Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1975 through 1989. Mayo Clin Proc 1995;70:628-633.
  3. Shapiro J, Madani S. Alopecia areata: diagnosis and management. Int J Dermatol 1999;38 Suppl 1:19-24.
  4. Gupta MA, Gupta AK, Watteel GN. Stress and alopecia areata: a psychodermatologic study. Acta Derm Venereol 1997;77:296-298.
  5. Canfi eld D. Photographic documentation of hair growth in androgenetic alopecia. Dermatol Clin 1996;14:713-721.
  6. Wasserman D, Guzman-Sanchez DA, Scott K, McMichael A. Alopecia areata. Int J Dermatol 2007;46:121-131.
  7. Madani S, Shapiro J. Alopecia areata update. J Am Acad Dermatol 2000;42:549-566.
  8. Alkhalifah A, Alsantali A, Wang E, McElwee KJ, Shapiro J. Alopecia areata update. Part I. Clinical picture, histopathology, and pathogenesis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2010;62:177-188.
  9. Tosti A, Bellavista S, Iorizzo M. Alopecia areata: a long term follow-up study of 191 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol 2006;55:438-441.
  10. Lew BL, Shin MK, Sim WY. Acute diffuse and total alopecia: a new subtype of alopecia areata with a favorable prognosis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2009;60:85-93.
  11. Lu W, Shapiro J, Yu M, Barekatain A, Lo B, Finner A, McElwee K. Alopecia areata: pathogenesis and potential for therapy. Expert Rev Mol Med 2006;8:1-19.
  12. McDonagh AJ, Tazi-Ahnini R. Epidemiology and genetics of alopecia areata. Clin Exp Dermatol 2002;27:405-409.
  13. Paus R, Slominski A, Czarnetzki BM. Is alopecia areata an autoimmune-response against melanogenesis-related proteins, exposed by abnormal MHC class I expression in the anagen hair bulb? Yale J Biol Med 1993;66:541-554.
  14. McElwee KJ, Tobin DJ, Bystryn JC, King LE Jr, Sundberg JP. Alopecia areata: an autoimmune disease? Exp Dermatol 1999;8:371-379.
  15. Delamere FM, Sladden MM, Dobbins HM, Leonardi-Bee J. Interventions for alopecia areata. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;(2):CD004413.
  16. Abell E, Munro DD. Intralesional treatment of alopecia areata with triamcinolone acetonide by jet injector. Br J Dermatol 1973;88:55-59.
  17. Ernst E. Panax ginseng: an overview of the clinical evidence. J Ginseng Res 2010;34:259-263.
  18. Vuksan V, Sievenpipper J, Jovanovski E, Jenkins AL. Current clinical evidence for Korean red ginseng in management of diabetes and vascular disease: a Toronto's Ginseng Clinical Testing Program. J Ginseng Res 2010;34:264-273.
  19. Abdel-Wahhab MA, Gamil K, El-Kady AA, El-Nekeety AA, Naguib KM. Therapeutic effects of Korean red ginseng extract in Egyptian patients with chronic liver diseases. J Ginseng Res 2011;35:69-79.
  20. Lee KG, Son SW. Efficacy of Korean red ginseng in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. J Ginseng Res 2011;35: 149-154.
  21. Kim JH, Yi SM, Choi JE, Son SW. Study of the efficacy of Korean red ginseng in the treatment of androgenic alopecia. J Ginseng Res 2009;33:223-228.
  22. Kim SH, Jeong KS, Ryu SY, Kim TH. Panax ginseng prevents apoptosis in hair follicles and accelerates recovery of hair medullary cells in irradiated mice. In Vivo 1998;12:219-222.
  23. Matsuda H, Yamazaki M, Asanuma Y, Kubo M. Promotion of hair growth by ginseng radix on cultured mouse vibrissal hair follicles. Phytother Res 2003;17:797-800.
  24. Park EK, Choo MK, Han MJ, Kim DH. Ginsenoside Rh1 possesses antiallergic and anti-infl ammatory activities. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2004;133:113-120.

Cited by

  1. Effects of Korean red ginseng as an environmental skin barrier function vol.6, pp.4, 2014,
  2. Adverse Effects of Plant Food Supplements Self-Reported by Consumers in the PlantLIBRA Survey Involving Six European Countries vol.11, pp.2, 2016,
  3. T Helper Subsets: A Complex Web Crucial to Immunomodulating Herbs vol.23, pp.2, 2017,
  4. Hair-Growth Potential of Ginseng and Its Major Metabolites: A Review on Its Molecular Mechanisms vol.19, pp.9, 2018,