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SOME PROBLEMS PERSIST WITH GINSENG SUPPLEMENTS BUT OVERALL QUALITY IMPROVES ACCORDING TO CONSUMERLAB.COM
— Test Results Published Online Today —

WHITE PLAINS, NY — August 28, 2003 — In contrast to its testing three years ago in which nearly 60% of Asian and American Ginseng supplements were found to have significant problems, testing of recently purchased products by ConsumerLab.com found problems with a far lower percentage — 17%. In one of five products claiming to contain "Korean Ginseng" a high amount of the pesticide hexachlorobenzene was found. In 2000, most Korean Ginseng products showed pesticide contamination. Hexachlorobenzene is a probable human carcinogen and is banned from most crop use throughout the world. One other product that failed the new testing was a liquid "Chinese Ginseng" sold in single-dose bottles. Despite being labeled "EXTRA STRENGTH" this product contained less than 10% of the expected ginsenosides — biologically active constituents of ginseng. In 2000, more than 30% of ginseng products tested low in ginsenosides.

Ginseng is used for many purposes, although most commonly to improve overall energy during times of stress. While there is not much clinical evidence to support an energy boosting effect, there are studies showing its potential value in normalizing blood glucose levels in diabetics, helping to stimulate immunity and treat male impotence, and, when used with ginkgo biloba, improving memory and symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

Remarking on the findings, Dr. Tod Cooperman, ConsumerLab.com's President, said, "The problems that we identified with ginseng in 2000 were an eye-opener for consumers and the industry. We would like to think that this has contributed to the apparent improvement in quality — although consumers clearly must remain cautious."

The Review can be found at www.consumerlab.com/results/ginseng.asp and includes results for 18 supplements, including twelve tested in the Review and six others that recently passed the same evaluation through ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. The Review also provides information on how to best choose and use these supplements. Subscription is required for the full report. Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available online. Soon to be released new Reviews include Muscular Enhancers (Creatine, HMB, and Glutamine), Joint Supplements (Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, and SAMe), Lutein and CoQ10. ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements: What's Really in the Bottle will be released in paperback next month — debuting at the Natural Products Expo in Washington, D.C.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com (www.pharmacychecker.com), an evaluator of online pharmacies. Subscription to Consumerlab.com is available online. For group subscriptions, Technical Reports, or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at lisa.sabin@consumerlab.com.

Copyright ConsumerLab.com, LLC, 2003. All rights reserved.



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