by Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.
According to a review of the herbal sports supplement literature by Luke Bucci, Ph.D., and reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it seems Panax ginseng supplementation may indeed increase muscular strength and aerobic work capacity.
According to Dr. Bucci, about 75% of the studies reviewed on the subject confirmed a positive effect from Panax ginseng supplementation. For instance, in a study conducted by a team of researchers in Sweden, when compared with a placebo, Panax ginseng significantly improved maximal oxygen uptake and post-exercise recovery (heart rate lowered six beats a minute for the six minutes after exercise). Pectoral strength was increased by 22% as measured by a dynamometer, and quadriceps strength by 18% as measured by a dynamometer.
Similarly, a team of researchers at the University of Chieti in Italy recently found ginseng supplementation to be effective at improving total work load, time to exhaustion, aerobic capacity, ventilation, and oxygen consumption.