Dose dependent changes in cognitive performance and mood following acute administration of Ginseng to healthy young volunteers

D. O. Kennedy, A. B. Scholey, K. A. Wesnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Recent evidence suggests that chronic administration of Ginseng can improve cognitive performance in animals and in humans. No previous study has examined the possibility of cognitive effects following single doses of Ginseng in healthy adults. The present study investigated whether acute administration of Ginseng (G115, Pharmaton SA) had any consistent effect on mood and four aspects of cognitive performance ("Quality of Memory", "Speed of Memory", "Quality of Attention" and "Speed of Attention") that can be derived by factor analysis of the Cognitive Drug Research computerised assessment battery. The study followed a placebo-controlled, double-blind, balanced, cross-over design. Twenty healthy young adult volunteers received 200, 400, and 600 mg of G115, and a matching placebo, in counterbalanced order, with a 7 day wash-out period between treatments. Following a baseline cognitive assessment, further test sessions took place 1, 2.5, 4 and 6 h after the day's treatment. The most striking result was a significant improvement in "Quality of Memory" and the associated "Secondary Memory" factor at all time points following 400 mg of Ginseng. Both the 200 and 600 mg doses were associated with a significant decrement of the "Speed of Attention" factor at later testing times only. Subjective ratings of alertness were also reduced 6 h following the two lowest doses. To the best of our knowledge this represents the first demonstration of a modulation of mood and cognitive performance by acute administration of Ginseng.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-310
Number of pages16
JournalNutritional Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute effects
  • Attention
  • Ginseng
  • Memory
  • Mood

Cite this