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Ginseng's efficacy debatable

The herbal product ginseng root has a number of psychological benefits, including fighting stress-related physical and mental fatigue and boosting mood performance. But researchers have found no psychological benefit from the use of ginseng.

Bradley Cardinal, PhD, associate professor and co-director of the sport and exercise psychology lab at the Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon and his colleague, Hermann Engles, PhD, conducted the study and found that there was really no benefit in taking the ginseng supplement in relationship to taking a sugar pill. They also found that there was no psychological benefits found after eight weeks of ginseng supplementation, at either the clinically recommended level or at twice that level.

But this statement is defended by Weimo Zhu, PhD, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where he said, "The study is limited due to the population sample". "Many studies done in China have shown ginseng's beneficial effect in older persons and persons who are sick or weak [physically and mentally]."

Zhu says that ginseng use is all about the dialectic theory of the balance between ying and yang. For example, Western ginseng can be used in the summer but real Chinese ginseng can only be used in the winter. "The winter is cold, so it is the ying, and you need something yang to counter it," says Zhu.

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