Ginseng extract cuts risk of colds

Recent clinical studies show an extract of ginseng may be able to significantly lower your risk of catching a cold or flu this season. A study at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk found the ginseng extract, known as CVT-E002 and sold as Cold-FX, helped prevent acute respiratory illness in older adults. In two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials at four care facilities, researchers compared the ginseng extract to a placebo in adults 80 years or older. During flu season, the participants received either a placebo or 200 mg of ginseng extract twice daily. The group using the ginseng had fewer incidences of the flu. The researchers concluded that the extract was safe and well-tolerated, and reduced the risk of flu by 89%.

A study at the University of Connecticut Health Center confirmed CVT-E002 could reduce the risk of cold or flu by 89%. The ginseng extract was given to seniors in three nursing homes over two flu seasons. Study participants, who were 60 years or older, were given either the ginseng or a placebo twice a day for an eight-week period and then a 12-week period. They were monitored for cold and flu symptoms through face-to-face visits twice a week. The volunteers taking the ginseng extract significantly reduced their risk of cold or flu compared to the volunteers taking the placebo. The researchers said, “this study suggests Cold-FX may provide a safe and effective means of preventing colds and flu in the institutional setting, where the risk of these illnesses is highest.”

Sources: J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Jan;52(1):13-9; University of Connecticut Health Centre, Mar 1, 2004