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How Products Were Selected:

Products tested represent those commonly sold and/or available nationally in the U.S. purchased products on the open market through retail stores, on-line retailers and direct sales companies. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.

Testing Methods:

Ginseng products were tested in one or more independent laboratories for the following:
  • Quantification of total ginsenosides by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) based on the United States Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplement Compendium (USPDSC 2020) methodology. This analysis specifically tests for the presence and amount of the eight major ginsenosides (nine in red Panax ginseng). Based on the scientific literature, the weight of these eight ginsenosides is assumed to represent approximately 90% of the total ginsenosides in a product and is, therefore, used to calculate the total ginsenoside content in products with an additional 10% added to the value to reflect the total amount of ginsenosides.
  • Analyses for lead, cadmium and arsenic by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) for products containing whole herbs and/or 250 mg or more of minerals per daily serving.
  • Analysis for pesticides in products containing root powder using Gas Chromatography (GC) with tandem mass spectrometer (MS) detectors following USP <561> Articles of Botanical Origin methodology.
  • Disintegration of tablets (excluding chewable, sublingual and time-release formulations) using United States Pharmacopeia (USP) <2040> methodology.
Any product that did not initially Pass (below) a test was sent to another independent laboratory to repeat testing for the criterion on which it did not pass. may modify or use other appropriate test methods if necessary to test special product formulations.

The identities of products were not disclosed to the laboratories performing the testing.

Passing Score:*

To "Pass" a product must:
  1. Meet its label claims for ginsenoside content and, at a minimum, contain the following total ginsenosides, respective of the type of ginseng labeled: 1.5% for Asian root powder (German Commission E recommendation), 3.0% for Asian root extract (USP recommendations), 2.0% for American root powder, and 4.0% for American root extract (common industry standard).
  2. Heavy Metals: Products containing whole herbs and/or more than 250 mg of mineral per daily dose must not exceed the following limits:
    • Products marketed for use by children may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.8 mcg if the product contains more than 1,000 mg/day of calcium
    • Supplements with single serving weights of less than 5 grams which are not marketed for use by children, may not exceed the State of California's Prop 65 limits for lead in dietary supplements of 0.5 mcg per recommended daily serving with an additional allowance of 0.4 mcg if containing 250-999 mg/day of any combination of elemental calcium, magnesium and potassium or 0.8 mcg if containing more than 1,000 mg/day of any combination of these minerals. An additional allowance of 0.5 mcg is provided if containing 250 to 999 mg/day of whole herb (not extract). However, total lead allowance will not exceed 2 mcg per day.
    • Products with single serving weights of 5 grams or more which are not marketed for children may not exceed 2.5 mcg per serving nor 4.0 mcg per daily serving.
    • If marketed for use by children, may not exceed 3.0 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on Canada's limit for a child weighing 75 lbs.). If not marketed for use by children, may not exceed 4.1 micrograms of cadmium per recommended daily serving (based on the State of California's Prop 65 limit).
    • Contain less than 10 micrograms of total arsenic and no more than 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per daily serving (EPA and state of New Jersey limits - based on 1 liter of water).
  3. Not exceed contamination for pesticides listed in USP <561> Articles of Botanical Origin, Table 5 (see appendix 1).
  4. Meet recommended USP <2040> parameters for disintegration of dietary supplements (excluding capsule, chewable, sublingual and time-release products).
  5. Be in compliance with FDA labeling requirements.
* Passing scores allow for specific margins of technical error associated with each analysis. reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to display any unacceptable variation, present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.

** The State of California Prop 65. California requires products exceeding this limit to bear a warning label.

Appendix 1.
Table 5, USP <561> Articles of Botanical Origin
Substance Limit (mg/kg, ppm)
Acephate 0.1
Alachlor 0.05
Aldrin and Dieldrin (sum of) 0.05
Azinphos-ethyl 0.1
Azinphos-methyl 1.0
Bromide, inorganic (as bromide ion) 50
Bromophos-ethyl 0.05
Bromophos-methyl 0.05
Bromopropylate 3.0
Chlordane (sum of cis- and trans- isomers and oxychlordane) 0.05
Chlorfenvinphos 0.5
Chlorpyrifos-ethyl 0.2
Chlorpyrifos-methyl 0.1
Chlorthal-dimethyl 0.01
Cyfluthrin (sum of) 0.1
?-Cyhalothrin 1.0
Cypermethrin and isomers (sum of) 1.0
DDT (sum of o,p'-DDE, p,p'-DDE, o,p'-DDT p,p'-DDT, o,p'-TDE and p,p'-TDE) 1.0
Deltamethrin 0.5
Diazinon 0.5
Dichlofluanid 0.1
Dichlorvos 1.0
Dicofol 0.5
Dimethoate and omethoate (sum of) 0.1
Dithiocarbamates (as CS2) 2.0
Endosulfan (sum of endosulfan isomers and endosulfan sulfate) 3.0
Endrin 0.05
Ethion 2.0
Etrimphos 0.05
Fenchlorophos (sum of fenchlorophos and fenchlorophos-oxon) 0.1
Fenithrothion 0.5
Fenpropathrin 0.03
Fensulfothion (sum of fensulfothion, fensulfothion-oxon, fensulfothion-oxonsulfon and fensulfothion-sulfon) 0.05
Fenthion (sum of fenthion, fenthion-oxon, fenthion-oxon-sulfon, fenthion-oxon-sulfoxid, fenthion-sulfon and fenthion-sulfoxid 0.05
Fenvalerate 1.5
Flucytrinate 0.05
t-Fluvalinate 0.05
Fonofos 0.05
Heptachlor (sum of heptachlor and cis-heptachlorepoxide and trans-heptachlorepoxide) 0.05
Hexachlorobenzene 0.1
Hexachlorocyclohexane (sum of isomers a-, ß-, d-, and e-) 0.3
Lindane (?-hexachlorocyclohexane) 0.6
Malathion and malaoxon (sum of) 1.0
Mecarbam 0.05
Methacriphos 0.05
Methamidophos 0.05
Methidathion 0.2
Methoxychlor 0.05
Mirex 0.01
Monocrotophos 0.1
Parathion-ethyl and Paraoxon-ethyl (sum of) 0.5
Parathion-methyl and Paraoxon-methyl (sum of) 0.2
Pendimethalin 0.1
Pentachloranisol 0.01
Permethrin and isomers (sum of) 1.0
Phosalone 0.1
Phosmet 0.05
Piperonyl butoxide 3.0
Pirimiphos-ethyl 0.05
Pirimiphos-methyl (sum of Pirimiphos-methyl and N-desethyl-pirimiphos-methyl 4.0
Procymidone 0.1
Profenophos 0.1
Prothiophos 0.05
Pyrethrum (sum of cinerin l, cinerein II, jasmolin II, pyrethrin I and pyrethrin II 3.0
Quinalphos 0.05
Quintozene (sum of quintozene, pentachloroanaline and methylpentachlorophenyl sulfide) 1.0
S-421 0.02
Tecnazene 0.05
Tetradifon 0.3
Vinclozolin 0.4

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