Researchers develop low-lactose milk that retains beneficial levels of American ginseng
American ginseng has been demonstrated to successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions. It is also noted to have neurocognitive effects, benefits for aging and center nervous systems disorders along with neurodegenerative diseases.View slideshow: Ginseng benefits
Due to the fact that older people frequently have problems digesting milk products, researchers developed a low-lactose formula and added American ginseng. The milk was sterilized by ultra-high temperature processing (UHT) which prolongs shelf life. Upon examination of the milk it had showed that sufficient levels of ginseng had remained in the milk after treatment to improve cognitive function.
In order to reduce the bitter taste of American Ginseng, researchers developed samples with vanilla extract and sucralose, a zero-calorie artificial sweetener. In a preliminary study, ten tasters participated. The tasters had a good ability to differentiate between flavors compared low lactose UHT milk without any additives (the control) to low lactose milk with ginseng extract, vanilla aroma, and sucralose added before UHT treatment. Tasters developed a list of ten traits that described the sample; color, sweet odor, milk flavor, vanilla flavor, metallic/root flavor, sweetness, bitterness, aftertaste, astringency, and consistency. Afterwards the tasters then rated the intensity of each trait for five samples; the control; the control with ginseng extract, vanilla aroma, and sucralose added; the control with ginseng extract added; the control with vanilla and ginseng extract; and the low lactose milk with ginseng extract; vanilla aroma; and sucralose added before UHT treatment.
For the second study 100 participants took part. Each was asked to rate on a scale of one to five, how willing would they be to consume “highly digestible semi-skimmed milk," and “highly digestible semi-skimmed milk enriched with ginseng extract that would improve cognitive function." Then they tasted and rated, on a scale of one to nine the overall acceptability of the control milk and the low lactose milk with ginseng extract, vanilla aroma, and sucralose added before UHT treatment.
Both the presence of ginseng and the thermal treatment affected some sensory properties of the milk. The addition of ginseng significantly increased the perceived light brown color in the flavored and unflavored samples, and was highest in the reduced-lactose milk with ingredients added before the UHT treatment. The sweet odor was more intense in flavored samples, but decreased slightly in the samples of milk with ingredients added before UHT treatment. Bitterness was clearly perceived in the samples containing ginseng additives, but was lower in flavored samples, indicating that the vanilla aroma and sucralose masked, to some extent, the bitter taste caused by ginseng extract.
Responses had varied greatly depending on the interest of the product. Among the responses indicated 78% would be likely to consume highly digestible milk and after tasting the sample 87% indicated they would buy the product, 47% had no interest in milk with ginseng and after tasting they had rated the acceptability as low. However, the 32% who expressed interest in the product, 75% said they would purchase it.
Dr. S. Fiszman, PhD, of the Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos (IATA), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Patema (Valencia), Spain, lead researcher for this study stated in a public release "Drinking 150 to 300 mL of this ginseng-enriched milk would provide the amount indicated to be effective for improving cognitive functions. Combined with the low levels of lactose, this makes the drink an appropriate functional beverage for the elderly," says Dr. Fiszman. "Among consumers more likely to consume ginseng products, the newly developed milk was well accepted. The addition of more congruent flavors such as chocolate, citrus, or coffee, could be more effective in masking non-milk-related sensory attributes, other alternatives could be investigated."
Dr. Susan Duncan, PhD, professor, Department of Food Science & Technology, Virginia Tech, had noted in her comments on the study With the combination of intrinsic health benefits in milk and these additional ingredients, milk becomes an easy way to deliver valuable functional ingredients and the functional benefits of milk components. Diversifying the product line for milk and dairy products has a number of benefits, including market and consumer visibility and perception."
This study is reported in the August issue of the Journal of Dairy Science ®
A randomized , double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover trail conducted in 2010, concerning the effects of American ginseng on neurocognitive function concluded; This preliminary study has identified robust working memory enhancement following administration of American ginseng.
Several studies have found ginseng effective for memory and clinically effective for cognitive performance in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Want to know more about ginseng? The famous Chinese herb information can be found at the Herbal Information Center.