Introduction. Many menopausal women experience climacteric symptoms including impairment of sexual function. Recent reports have suggested that Korean red ginseng (KRG) has a relaxing effect on the clitoral cavernosal muscle and vaginal smooth muscle in rats.
Aim. We assessed whether KRG extracts would improve sexual function in menopausal women.
Methods. Thirty-two menopausal women participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover clinical study with administration of either three capsules of ginseng (1 g per capsule) or placebo daily. After completing the KRG or placebo arm, the participants were crossed over to the other arm after a 2-week washout period. The efficacy and safety of the KRG extracts were measured by using questionnaires.
Main Outcome Measures. Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and Global Assessment Questionnaire (GAQ).
Results. Twenty-eight women completed the study. They were, on average, 51.2 ± 4.1 years old, and their mean menopausal state was for a duration of 37.4 ± 2.9 months. Few carryover effects were noted in either study arm. The ginseng extract significantly improved scores on the FSFI from 3.10 ± 0.87 to 3.50 ± 0.72 in the sexual arousal domain (P = 0.006). The GAQ was more significantly affected by ginseng extracts than by placebo (P = 0.046). There were no severe adverse events in the KRG group, although two cases of vaginal bleeding occurred during KRG treatment.
Conclusions. Oral administration of KRG extracts improved sexual arousal in menopausal women. Red ginseng extracts might be used as an alternative medicine in menopausal women to improve their sexual life. Oh KJ, Chae MJ, Lee HS, Hong HD, and Park K. Effects of Korean red ginseng on sexual arousal in menopausal women: Placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover clinical study. J Sex Med 2010;7:1469–1477.