Article ID: JE20210393
Background: Ginseng, an herbal remedy, has been commonly used in Asian countries to promote longevity and health for over 2,000 years. However, the association of ginseng consumption with all-cause and cause-specific mortality is still unclear. We analyzed the association of total and major cause-specific mortality (cardiovascular disease [CVD], cancer, and other death) with consumption of ginseng (primarily American and white ginseng).
Methods: This study included 56,183 female participants with an average follow-up of 14.7 years in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study, an ongoing prospective cohort study. Data were assessed via an in-person interview conducted at baseline recruitment. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for ginseng-mortality associations after adjusting for confounders.
Results: Compared with those who never used ginseng, regular ginseng use was associated with significantly reduced all-cause mortality (HR 0.92; 95% CI, 0.87–0.98). This inverse association was seen primarily among those who consumed ginseng for perceived general health benefit (HR 0.90; 95% CI, 0.85–0.96). A significant dose-response association was observed between duration of ginseng use and total mortality (HR 0.85, for using ≥6 years vs never use; P for trend <0.001), CVD mortality (HR 0.83; P for trend = 0.019), and other-cause mortality (HR 0.76; P for trend = 0.001). However, no dose-response association was observed between amount of ginseng consumption and mortality outcomes.
Conclusion: Regular ginseng consumption, particularly over a long duration, was associated with decreased risk of all causes of death, death due to CVD, and death due to certain other diseases.