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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Ginseng, a common Chinese herb, For Dog Cancer

Updated: December 12th, 2018

Ginsing is a common herb used in eastern medicine, and is now being used for dogs by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.

There is good reason for this.  Ginseng has some very definite effects that are real, and may help a dog with cancer.  I’d be thinking mainly of using ginseng for mammary cancers or cancers of the stomach, colon and possibly liver. Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, may point other additional uses for dogs with cancer.

If you have interest in finding a vet that uses both conventional and alternative therapies, check out the Veterinary Institute of Integrative Medicine.

Here’s some information on Ginsing…

Ginsing is a root.  There are different kinds of ginsing (actually, up to eleven different types depending on classification). The plants grow mainly in China, Siberia, and Korea.

There’s red Panax ginseng (older and steam cooked, probably the one most useful), white Panax ginseng (younger, not cooked much), Siberian ginseng, American ginseng, and other classifications.

The active good stuff in many types of ginseng is found in  substances called ginsenosides.  It seems that these most likely work to help in cancer patients by decreasing inflammation.  Long term, microscopic inflammation in the body is linked to most cancers, as you will read about in your Guide.

Red (Panax) ginseng powder was found to increase survival times in humans with stage 3 stomach cancer, and also helped their immunity.  The number of patients that survived 5 years after diagnosis almost doubled from about a third to more than two third.   This was in conjunction with chemo and surgery.

The fact that these stomach cancer patients improved while on ginseng and chemo is significant.  Ginseng contains antioxidants, normally not allowed by many oncologists during chemo. (The Guide discusses using supplements along with chemotherapy if you need more information about this.)

Korean ginseng extract was shown to decrease lung and liver tumors (adenomas) in mice that were exposed to carcinogens.

In humans with breast cancer, ginsing was found to increase both survival time as well as life quality.  Here is a nice chart that shows the difference.

In patients sensitive to ginseng’s energy restoring effects, there may be stimulation and sleeplessness at night.  Ginseng may have blood thinning effects, and should be stopped before surgery or in pets with bleeding disorders.

Ginseng definitely has its uses, and is one of the tools that can be chosen to help dogs with cancer. Please discuss these with your vet with training in Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine.


Dr D



Leave a Comment

  1. ROSE on July 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Dr D.
    I gave my pug with liver cancer fresh gingseng like a tablespoon a few times in a week and 1/2 and went I went for the ultrasound/drain fluid today the vet said what have you been giving him, his tumor is smaller and I told him and we are both thrilled! He also said another patient of his is taking your apocaps so I will purchase those today and give to him with his actagal and his demamarin.
    Thanks for everything you do, I am so grateful.

  2. Tim on June 22, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Our six year old beagle mix had a kidney fail several months back. They were unable to remove it and didn’t know what happened. Now she has a large mass, about the size of a cantaloupe that’s either from the kidney itself of around it. They again tried surgery but didn’t attempt to remove it because they felt it was too risky. Still waiting on Biopsy results to see what it is for sure though they think it’s a tumor. They are sending her home with only antibiotics and pain medicine. Could ginseng help out if this is a tumor on the kidney? We are currently trying to find somebody in our area for a second opinion.

  3. rose on June 21, 2012 at 11:36 am

    My vet said to try the gingseng for rex. I found fresh, I read to boil it but my question is does he have the liquid or eat the root?

  4. ROSE on June 13, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Can I give my dog the red panax gingseng extract? I was wondering since there is also honey,alcohol less than 0.5 sodium berzoate, and potassuim sorbate in it.
    He is a 10 year old pug with liver cancer, takes actagail and demorium.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on June 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      Dear Rose,
      please consult your veterinarian directly on this question as I do not have hands on the dog and cannot give you the information you need. If your vet does not know about this type of thing, check out:
      I hope this helps

  5. Jennifer on June 5, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Dr. D,

    My Rottweiler was just diagnosed with a malignant mammary tumor that has spread to lymph nodes and lungs; we were told the tumors are very small. We bought your book and have her on the cancer diet and just ordered the apocaps and k9 immunity. Should we try ginseng, and if so, how much do we give her?

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on June 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Dear Jennifer,
      Sorry to hear about this.
      I’d be also doing either ND or JD diet to supplement the home made one,
      adding flax lignans
      adding metronomic chemo (talk to oncologist)
      wide margin removal if that improves life quality
      avoiding red meat if possible
      All under veterinary supervision
      All my best
      Dr D

  6. ROSE on May 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

    DR D,
    The c-vt was written on bottole in front of the ursodiol as a generic.
    Do you recommend him trying your apocpacs with these medicine for liver cancer?
    Thanks for taking the time for me.

  7. ROSE on May 31, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Dr D.
    The C-VT ursodiol is a generic for actigall his vet gets this medicine at a compounded pharmacy he said it comes from a bear.
    thanks for taking the time to answer me.

  8. Cheryl O on May 31, 2012 at 1:03 am

    My English bulldog with stage one hemangiosarcoma, 3 mos post spleenectomy without rupture has just completed 4 rounds of doxorubicin . They have stopped IV chemo, all labs ultrasounds and X-rays look good. He dose have bladder stones from the ultra sounds…he’s a Asymptomatic…they want to start him now on Palladia 3 times a week…I have him on transfer factor and k-9 immunity…he is also been maintained on a higher protein low carb diet…but I’m moderating it some due to the bladder stones…what are your thoughts about the Palladia?. He does have a very small 5 mm MCT on his side there watching and they consider it very stable..but it’s not why there using Palladia..

  9. ROSE on May 24, 2012 at 8:38 am


    • Dr. Demian Dressler on May 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Dear Rose,
      I am sorry about your pug. Can you give me more information about C-VT? The other two are fine and standard treatments.
      Dr D

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