Siberian ginseng was traditionally used to prevent colds and flu and to increase energy, longevity, and vitality. It is widely used in Russia as an "adaptogen." An adaptogen is a substance that is supposed to help the body better cope with either mental or physical stress.
Until recently, most scientific research on Siberian ginseng was done in Russia. Research on Siberian ginseng has included studies on the following:
COLDS AND FLU
Some double-blind studies have found that a specific product containing Siberian ginseng and andrographis reduced the severity and length of colds when taken with 72 hours of symptoms starting. Researchers don't know whether Siberian ginseng was responsible or whether it was andrographis, or the combination of the two herbs.
One study compared the same product with amantadine, a drug used to treat some kinds of flu. People with flu who took the same product saw their symptoms go away faster than those who took amantadine.
Another study found that healthy people who took Siberian ginseng for 4 weeks had more T-cells, which may indicate their immune systems were stronger.
HERPES VIRAL INFECTION
Siberian ginseng is often used to increase mental alertness. But there haven't been enough scientific studies to show that it really works. One preliminary study found that middle-aged volunteers who took Siberian ginseng improved their memory compared to those who took placebo.
Siberian ginseng is often said to improve athletic performance and increase muscle strength. While some studies have found positive results, others have found that Siberian ginseng didn't help.
QUALITY OF LIFE
One study found that elderly people who took Siberian ginseng had better mental health and social functioning after 4 weeks of therapy, compared to those who took placebo. But after 8 weeks, the benefits started to go away.