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Sweet news about ginseng

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6:09pm, October 28, 2002

From San Diego, at the Experimental Biology 2000 meeting

Many people with adult-onset diabetes can control their blood sugar or limit side effects of the disease by avoiding large meals and adhering to a healthy diet. A small study now indicates that ginseng may be a helpful addition to such a lifestyle.

Herbalists often prescribe American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) as a folk remedy for diabetes. Several years ago, researchers at the University of Toronto began examining that health claim and now present evidence of a benefit.

Volunteers with and without diabetes received an inert 3-gram capsule or equal amount of ginseng powder. The capsules were given either at the same time as or 40 minutes before ingesting 25 g of the sugar glucose. In all the comparisons, men and women who took the ginseng experienced a 15 to 20 percent smaller rise in blood sugar, according to a report in the April 10 Archives of Internal Medicine.

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