Effect of Korean Red Ginseng on Sleep : A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

고려 홍삼이 수면의 질에 미치는 영향 : 무작위 위약-대조군 연구

  • Lee, Sun-Ah (Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Kang, Seung-Gul (Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Lee, Heon-Jeong (Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine) ;
  • Jung, Ki-Young (Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, Korea University Anam Hospital) ;
  • Kim, Leen (Department of Psychiatry, Korea University College of Medicine)
  • 이선아 (고려대학교 의과대학 정신과학교실) ;
  • 강승걸 (고려대학교 의과대학 정신과학교실) ;
  • 이헌정 (고려대학교 의과대학 정신과학교실) ;
  • 정기영 (고려대학교 안암병원 수면-각성장애 센터) ;
  • 김린 (고려대학교 의과대학 정신과학교실)
  • Received : 2010.04.26
  • Accepted : 2010.08.12
  • Published : 2010.12.31


Objectives: Ginseng has a long history of being used in insomnia treatment and there is some evidence from animal studies of its sleep-enhancing property. From this, it can be assumed that ginseng has sleep-promoting effect in humans. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of Korean red ginseng on change of sleep architecture in humans. Methods: A total of 20 healthy young males with regular sleep and wake habits and without any psychiatric nor cognitive problems were selected based on review of sleep questionnaires and sleep diaries they completed followed by an interview with a board-certified psychiatrist. The subjects were randomly assigned to red ginseng or placebo for 2 weeks of trial. The total daily dose of ginseng was 4,500 mg. The polysomnographic recordings were made at baseline and at 2 weeks after. The effects of red ginseng and placebo on sleep were assessed by comparing the changes in polysomnographic variables between the two groups. Results: A total of 15 subjects, 8 from red ginseng group and 7 from placebo group, were included to undergo polysomnographic procedures. The red ginseng group showed tendencies to increase stage 3 sleep (p=0.087) and to decrease stage 2 sleep (p=0.071) from the baseline compared with the placebo group. Conclusion: Korean red ginseng tends to increase deep sleep and decrease shallow sleep. Our result is in line, at least in part, with previous findings that Korean red ginseng increased total and NREM sleep in rats. Further studies with higher ginseng dosage, larger sample size and longer trial duration should be conducted to confirm the sleep stabilizing and balancing effects of Korean red ginseng.