Ginseng is from the genus Panax and is one of the most well recognized herbs. There have been many claims for ginseng such as treatment of sexual dysfunction, type II diabetes, fatigue, and as a result it is a common ingredient in some popular energy drinks. The results of studies investigating the effects of ginseng on exercise performance are mixed, but many have been relatively uncontrolled or used too low a dose to show effectiveness. A recent well-controlled study investigated the effects of Panax notoginseng (PNG) on exercise capacity in health young subjects. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 1,350 mg/day of PNG in capsule form or placebo capsules for 30 days. Subjects performed an exercise test to fatigue that took about 30 min at baseline. After 30 days of supplementation, the PNG group significantly increase their exercise time by an additional 7 minutes, whereas the placebo group was essentially unchanged. The PNG group also showed a lower exercise oxygen uptake indicating increased efficiency and a reduced blood pressure response. These findings support the use of Panax notoginseng for improving endurance exercise capacity.
Liang MT, Podolka TD, Chuang WJ. Panax notoginseng supplementation enhances physical performance during endurance exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb;19(1):108-14.