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  » Medical News Archive  »   Ginseng for Breast Cancer?
by Sara Altshul
    This herb may boost odds against breast cancer
The Chinese have used ginseng for thousands of years to stay healthy and treat illness. Now researchers at Vanderbilt University have tested the herb's power to fight breast cancer--with promising results.

Researchers tracked 1,455 patients in Shanghai for up to 6 years and found that those who had a history of taking ginseng were 30% less likely to die from the cancer than nonusers. Women who began taking it after diagnosis reported more energy and better sleep than patients who didn't use ginseng. All the women had conventional cancer treatment and, on average, took 1.3 g of ginseng root (P. quinquefolius) a day.

Studies in test tubes and in animals suggest that ginseng compounds called ginsenosides can make cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy. The World Health Organization says ginseng is safe in doses of 1 to 2 g of dried root or 200 to 600 mg of standardized P. quinquefolius extract daily. If you have breast cancer and are considering taking ginseng, consult a qualified herbal practitioner; find one at The American Herbalists Guild, The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, or The American Association of Oriental Medicine.