The supplement ginseng is derived from the root of the Ginseng plant. The active ingredients in ginseng are ginsenosides. Ginseng is used commonly used for lowering blood sugar levels, improving the immune system, and enhancing physical and mental performance. There are many, many variations of ginseng, the most common being Asian and American ginseng.
As of yet, studies have been inconclusive as to whether or not ginseng aids in weight loss. Part of this is due to the difficulty in studying ginseng because of the many different variations and levels of quality of ginseng.
One study ((Appetite, 2007, 49(1), 303)) showed that ginseng injected into mice (at 10mg/kg) reduced body weight and food intake. Another study ((Phytomedicine, 2002, 9(3), 254-258)) showed that ginseng decreased body weight in mice of 9 grams over a 12 day period (from 12 daily injections of 150 mg/kg).
I was unable to find any studies on ginseng’s weight loss abilities in humans.
Despite the buzz about ginseng as a weight loss supplement, there still needs to be more research to be difinitive. Early studies are supportive, but they are all done in mice. Ginseng is sure to have health benefits, but whether or not it will be an effective diet pill ingredient, I cannot say. If it’s in a diet pill, no problem. But if it’s the main ingredient, head for the hills.