Ginseng could be used as an alternative to Viagra to help tackle impotence, according to scientists.

London - Ginseng is being tested as a treatment for depression. A clinical trial is under way assessing the effects of the herb on 40 patients.

Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a perennial plant grown in Northern China, Korea, Japan, and Russia (mainly Eastern Siberia) - the dried roots are used in many traditional medicines to treat a variety of conditions, from cancer to indigestion. It is also found in energy drinks.

Previous animal studies have shown ginseng supplements seem to affect levels of hormones and other compounds involved in depression. In the new trial at Korea University Hospital, the patients will take ginseng daily for eight weeks, then their depression symptoms will be assessed.

Just how ginseng could work is not clear, but it is thought substances in the root called ginsenosides, which resemble steroid hormones, may raise levels of natural mood boosters. - Daily Mail