Ginseng Alleviates Finasteride Side Effects

The more data that emerges regarding Ginseng’s apparently positive effects on hair growth, the more I like it. Several studies in cell lines and in both animal models and humans have demonstrated a consistent hair growth effect for both oral and topical Ginseng. In this regard I am a much bigger fan of oral vs topical use , due to the lack of commercial availability of topical ginseng preparations for topical use, the significantly enhanced bioavailability of recent fermented Ginseng formulations, and in addition to its hair growth effects, its numerous health/age reversal benefits.

So were its hair growth effects as a singular intervention not enough, another study just emerged showing that Ginseng may actually prevent side effects associated with Propecia use, which is a real boon to finasteride and dutasteride users.

Front Pharmacol

2023 Jan

Panax ginseng C.A. meyer alleviates benign prostatic hyperplasia while preventing finasteride-induced side effects


Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, a widely used traditional medicine in East Asia, shows many beneficial effects on immune function, male erectile dysfunction, cancer, excessive oxidants, and aging issues. However, its effect on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and its potential in the treatment of side effects related to finasteride (Fi), an FDA-approved drug for BPH, are less known. This study aimed to verify the therapeutic effects of a water extract of P. ginseng (PGWE) on BPH in testosterone propionate (TP)-induced BPH rats and TP-treated RWPE-1 human epithelial cells, and the inhibitory potential on the Fi-induced side effects is also explored. In the TP-induced BPH rat model, PGWE alleviated the pathological markers of BPH such as weight and epithelial thickness of the prostate, and the serum level of dihydrotestosterone. PGWE downregulated androgen-related BPH factors such as 5α-reductase 2 and androgen receptor. PGWE also showed prostatic cell apoptosis accompanied by increased expression of Bax and decreased expression of Bcl-xL and cleaved-caspase 3, respectively, in addition to increasing mitochondrial dynamics in both in vivo and in vitro BPH models. Notably, reduced sperm count, one of the serious side effects of Fi, in the epididymis of BPH rats was recovered with PGWE treatment, suggesting less toxicity to sperm development by PGWE. PGWE also protected against Fi-induced sperm loss when PGWE was administered in combination with Fi without compromising the therapeutic effects of Fi on BPH. Based on these findings, we propose that PGWE could be an alternative therapeutic agent for BPH.

Some excerpts from the study itself:

“PGWE (Ginseng Extract) alleviated various pathological signs of BPH by reducing the size and epithelial thickness of the prostate, and by decreasing the serum level of DHT in the TP-treated BPH rat model. In addition, PGWE regulated AR-mediated proliferation by suppressing the protein expression of 5AR2 and AR in prostate tissues of TP-induced BPH rats and TP-treated RWPE-1 cells. These results suggest that PGWE has the potential to be a new alternative treatment for BPH.”

“However, PGWE did not affect sperm count while improving BPH as much as Fi does. Surprisingly, PGWE protects against Fi-induced sperm loss when co-administered with Fi. Consequently, PGWE not only relieves the symptoms of BPH but also improves the side effects of Fi.”

In addition to anti-cancer and cognition enhancement, Ginseng is established to be time tested treatment for depression, anxiety, low libido, and low testosterone (Andropause).

Ginseng and male reproductive function

Although this particular study referenced the sperm count side effects of finasteride, the other established side effects of finasteride, such as depression, loss of libido, and possibly erectile dysfunction, would likely be ameliorated by Ginseng as well. Ginseng Extracts are well documented adaptogens, modulating one’s adaptational response to both physical and mental stressors.

Ginseng Extracts come in various forms, and have evolved in recent years, providing an ever enhanced bio-availability efficacy. To optimize the absorption of its biologically active components, you need to use fermented ginseng extract, GS15-4 like we do in our Ginseng Energy Boost formula. With fermented ginseng you get up to 15x more of ginseng’s active Compound K.

Relatively recent studies demonstrate that Ginseng extract in addition to its numerous health/age- reversal benefits, warrants legitimate consideration for inclusion in any hair loss treatment protocol- particularly hormone driven such as male or female pattern.