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12-month randomised controlled trial of ginseng extract for moderate COPD
  1. Johannah Linda Shergis1,
  2. Francis Thien2,3,
  3. Christopher John Worsnop4,
  4. Lin Lin5,6,
  5. Anthony L Zhang1,
  6. Lei Wu5,6,
  7. Yuanbin Chen5,6,
  8. Yinji Xu5,6,
  9. David Langton3,7,
  10. Cliff Da Costa8,
  11. Harry Fong9,
  12. Darong Wu5,6,
  13. David Story1,
  14. Charlie C Xue1,6
  1. 1School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Department of Respiratory Medicine, Eastern Health, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Department of Respiratory Medicine, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  5. 5The Second Clinical College of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China
  6. 6Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, China
  7. 7Department of Thoracic Medicine, Frankston Hospital, Frankston, Victoria, Australia
  8. 8School of Science, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  9. 9Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Distinguished Professor Charlie C Xue, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; charlie.xue{at}rmit.edu.au; Professor Lin Lin, The Second Clinical College of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine and the Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Guangzhou, China; drlinlin620{at}163.com

Abstract

Background Panax ginseng (ginseng) is a therapeutic herb which might be beneficial in COPD. The study investigated if ginseng, compared with placebo, is effective and safe for people with moderate COPD.

Methods This multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial compared 24 weeks of ginseng capsules (100 mg twice daily) with placebo. Participants were followed up for a further 24 weeks. Participants were aged 40 years and over and had airflow limitation in the moderate (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2) COPD range. The coprimary endpoints were the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire, the COPD Assessment Test and the Short Form Health Survey. Secondary outcomes included lung function, exacerbation rate and use of relief medication.

Findings 168 participants were randomised 1:1 from five centres in Australia and China. Baseline characteristics were balanced between groups. There were no significant differences between ginseng and placebo, with overall results improving in both groups. Ginseng seemed safe for, and well tolerated by, people with COPD.

Interpretation There was no significant difference in improvement in health-related quality of life (primary outcome) between the ginseng and placebo groups.

Trial registration number ACTRN12610000768099.

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • randomised controlled trial
  • ginseng
  • quality of life
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Footnotes

  • LL and CCX are joint senior authors.

  • Contributors Conception: CX. Study design: CX, FT, CJW, LL, JLS, ALZ, HF, DW, DS. Data collection: JLS, LW, YC, YX, DL. Data analysis: CX, FT, CJW, LL, JLS, ALZ, HF, DW, CDC. Data interpretation: all authors. Writing and reviewing the manuscript: all authors. Final approval of the manuscript: all authors.

  • Funding The study was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant (number 616609) and a National Institute of Complementary Medicine Australia Seeding Grant. The study was also supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant numbers 81573895 and 81673897) and Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (grant number 2017A020213013). Ginsana SA provided the Ginsana capsules and placebo used in this study.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval The protocol was approved by the ethics committee at each site: Austin Health Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number HREC/10/Austin/8, H2010/03892) and Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine Institutional Ethics Committee (approval number B2013-171-01).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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