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Chinese Ginseng

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Abstract

Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a rare medicinal plant that has been used in China for more than 2,000 years. Ginsenosides are the active ingredients in ginseng. More than 30 different ginsenosides have been identified and purified. Their mechanisms of action and their use in treatment of various diseases have been extensively studied. The aims of this report are to review the current knowledge on the basic mechanism of action of ginsenosides, their successful use in treatment of long-term debilitating diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurological diseases, their interaction with conventional drugs, and the safety of the herbal preparation as dietary supplements. It is concluded that while the major molecular actions of many of the ginsenosides have been identified, results from clinical trials on demonstrating the efficacy of ginsenosides are still inconclusive. It is suggested that continuous studies are necessary to improve the detail composition of the ginseng extract to facilitate the study of clinical efficacy of this valuable nutraceutical.

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This article describes the method development involved in the authentication of nutraceuticals, particularly those containing Panax ginseng, which is popular because of possible positive effects on human health. For this purpose, an analytical strategy based on a metabolomic approach was chosen. The aqueous methanolic extracts were analyzed using ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC–HRMS). Generated data were processed by advanced statistical methods that enabled the specific markers for Panax ginseng and other plants that can be used for its adulteration (Gynostemma pentaphyllum, Withania somnifera, Eleutherococcus senticosus) to be found. The developed method is primarily intended for verifying the presence of Panax ginseng and its adulterants in Panax ginseng-based herbal teas.
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The global market of the medicinal plant ginseng is worth billions of dollars. Many ginseng species are threatened in the wild and effective sustainable development initiatives are necessary to preserve biodiversity at species and genetic level whilst meeting the demand for medicinal produce. This is also the case of Panax vietnamensis Ha & Grushv., an endemic and threatened ginseng species in Vietnam that is locally cultivated at different scales and has been the object of national breeding programs. To investigate the genetic diversity within cultivated and wild populations of P. vietnamensis we captured 353 nuclear markers using the Angiosperm-353 probe set. Genetic diversity and population structure were evaluated for 319 individuals of Vietnamese ginseng across its area of distribution and from wild and a varying range of cultivated areas. In total, 319 individuals were sampled. After filtering, 1,181 SNPs were recovered. From the population statistics, we observe high genetic diversity and high genetic flow between populations. This is also supported by the STRUCTURE analysis. The intense gene flow between populations and very low genetic differentiation is observed regardless of the populations' wild or cultivated status. High levels of admixture from two ancestral populations exist in both wild and cultivated samples. The high gene flow between populations can be attributed to ancient and on-going practices of cultivation, which exist in a continuum from understorey, untended breeding to irrigated farm cultivation and to trade and exchange activities. These results highlight the importance of partnering with indigenous peoples and local communities and taking their knowledge into account for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of plants of high cultural value.
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Chapter
Chinese ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a rare medicinal plant that has been used for over 2000 years. Ginsenosides are the active ingredients. Over 30 different ginsenosides have been identified and purified. Their mechanisms of action and their use in the treatment of various diseases have been extensively studied. The aims of this chapter are to review the current knowledge and to evaluate their roles as nutraceuticals for human health maintenance. Particular attention is directed toward their potential mechanism of actions in health maintenance, bioavailability, toxicity, quality control, and possible interactions with conventional food and drugs. In summary, recent developments have indicated that the efficacies of ginseng may be due to its immunomodulator function to prevent a chronic inflammatory reaction resulting in damage to the various organ tissues leading to various diseases. The active compounds may be the metabolites derived from actions of the stomach and intestinal microorganisms as ginsenosides pass through the digestive tracts. Although ginseng is safe to use, problems of overdose, interaction with other food and drugs, quality and potential contaminants should continue to be monitored. Ginseng is now approved for use for its potential antioxidative and antiinflammatory actions, possible benefit in improving brain function, erectile dysfunction, ability to boost the immune system and potential benefits against cancer, fighting tiredness, increasing energy levels, as well as possibly lowering blood sugar levels.
Chapter
The majority of people in developed countries across the world depend on pharmaceuticals, and more recently herbal remedies and other nutraceuticals have grown significantly in use. Drug and nutraceutical efficacy are of paramount importance, however, safety and/or toxicity are also important considerations. Appropriate safety/toxicity screening approaches are seeing increased use in these industries, and noninvasive optical imaging is showing potential for safety screening by using specialized imaging systems and imaging probes that can measure drug-induced toxicity. This review highlights advances in near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging for toxicity, using various NIR probes to detect important biological changes, including cell death, oxidative stress, metabolic changes, vascular leak, protease activity, and tissue calcification, as well as physiological changes in glomerular filtration and gastric emptying. New in vivo optical imaging approaches will help decision-making in the drug-discovery and toxicity-testing processes to improve the safety profile of future therapies.
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Ginseng traditional medicines and food supplements are the globally top selling herbal products. Panax ginseng, Panax quinquefolius and Panax notoginseng are the main commercial ginseng species in herbal medicine. Prices of ginseng products vary widely based on the species, quality, and purity of the used ginseng, and this provides a strong driver for intentional adulteration. Our systematic literature search has reviewed the authenticity results of 507 ginseng-containing commercial herbal products sold in 12 countries scattered across six continents. The analysis of the botanical and chemical identity of all these products shows that 76% are authentic while 24% were reported as adulterated. The number of commercial products as well as the percentage of adulteration varies significantly between continents, being highest in South America (100%) and Australia (75%), and lower in Europe (35%), North America (23%), Asia (21%) and Africa (0%). At a national level, from the five countries for which more than 10 products have been successfully authenticated, the highest percentage of adulterated ginseng products were purchased from Taiwan (49%), followed by Italy (37%), China (21%), and USA (12%), while all products bought in South Korea were reported to be authentic. In most cases, labeled Panax species were substituted with other Panax species, but substitution of ginseng root, the medicinally recommended plant part, with leaves, stems or flowers was also reported. Efficient and practical authentication using biomarkers to distinguish the main ginseng varieties and secondary metabolite spectra for age determination are essential to combat adulteration in the global marketplace.
Article
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With increasing age, humans and animals suffer from partial or complete loss of cognition and memory. As a result, quality of life declines significantly. Among many underlying mechanisms, a significant decline in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), an increase in N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), and oxidative stress are the most recognized events involved in cognition impairment, especially memory and learning. Like chronic neurodegenerative Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in humans, canines and felines suffer from memory loss as they become older. Currently, for AD treatment in humans, an NMDA receptor antagonist memantine in combination with the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor donepezil, rivastigmine, or galantamine appears to be the best option. A number of therapeutic drugs (selegiline, gabapentin, buspirone, memantine, etc.) are also available for treatment of canine cognition dysfunction (CCD)/cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). A large number of plant extracts, their ingredients, and bioactive compounds of animal origin have been investigated for anticholinesterase (anti-ChE), antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory activities, as well as anti-Aβ aggregation and deposition in the brain. Some of these substances have also been shown to normalize the blood-brain barrier permeability and integrity, while others have been demonstrated to restore mitochondrial function. A small number of plant extracts have also shown MAO-B inhibitory property. Currently, dementic dogs and cats are given nutraceuticals and/or a therapeutic diet to improve their cognition and memory. This chapter describes various nutraceuticals and substances that have potential to improve cognition and memory in senior dogs and cats.
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Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability worldwide. However, effective therapeutic approaches are still limited. The disruption of blood supply triggers complicated temporal and spatial events involving hemodynamic, biochemical, and neurophysiologic changes, eventually leading to pathological disturbance and diverse clinical symptoms. Ginseng (Panax ginseng), a popular herb distributed in East Asia, has been extensively used as medicinal and nutritional supplements for a variety of disorders worldwide. In recent years, ginseng has displayed attractive beneficial effects in distinct neurological disorders including stroke, involving multiple protective mechanisms. In this article, we reviewed the literature on ginseng studies in the experimental stroke field, particularly focusing on the in vivo evidence on the preventive or therapeutic efficacy and mechanisms of ginseng and ginsenosides in various stroke models of mice and rats. We also summarized the efficacy and underlying mechanisms of ginseng and ginsenosides on short- and long-term stroke outcomes.
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Breast cancer is still one of the most prevalent cancers and a leading cause of cancer death worldwide. The key challenge with cancer treatment is the choice of the best therapeutic agents with the least possible toxicities on the patient. Recently, attention has been drawn to herbal compounds, in particular ginsenosides, extracted from the root of the Ginseng plant. In various studies, significant anti-cancer properties of ginsenosides have been reported in different cancers. The mode of action of ginsenoside Rg3 (Rg3) in in vitro and in vivo breast cancer models and its value as an anti-cancer treatment for breast cancer will be reviewed.
Article
Leaf litters play a very significant role in determining soil physicochemical properties and shaping soil microbial communities in forest ecosystems, but their impact on understory wild ginseng soil is unknown. In order to study that, different leaf litters from five tree species ((A) Acer mono. Maxim. var. mono; (B) Pinus densiflora Sieb. et Zucc.; (C) Juglans mandshurica Maxim.; (D) Tilia amurensis Rupr.; (E) Quercus mongolica Fisch. ex Ledeb) were added to Panax ginseng-growing soil. Our results indicated that the physicochemical properties of soil were significantly affected by all the leaf litter treatments. Soil total nitrogen, available NPK, and soil microbial biomass (carbon and nitrogen) significantly (P < 0.05) increased across all treatments. In addition, we found that the soil bulk density and C/N ratio was lower following all treatments than in the control (no addition of leaf litter). Although the different kinds of added leaf litter had few effects on bacterial diversity and abundance, significant changes in the bacterial community composition could be identified in all soils; specifically, the relative abundance of Proteobacteria was higher in treatments than in the control. In addition, the bacterial communities of Bacteroidetes were fewer in treatments with coniferous leaf litter than those with broad leaf litter (P < 0.05). Canonical discriminant analysis (CDA) ascertained that the shift of bacterial community composition and diversity were closely related with the changes in soil microbial biomass carbon and available nitrogen in all treatment soils. Our experiment results suggest that addition of leaf litter has a significant impact on soil bacterial community development, and it can lead to higher soil nutrients and soil microbial biomass, as well as a different bacterial community composition.
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Abnormal changes in skin color induce significant cosmetic problems and affect quality of life. There are two groups of abnormal change in skin color; hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. Hyperpigmentation, darkening skin color by excessive pigmentation, is a major concern for Asian people with yellow-brown skin. A variety of hypopigmenting agents have been used, but treating the hyperpigmented condition is still challenging and the results are often discouraging. Panax ginseng has been used traditionally in eastern Asia to treat various diseases, due to its immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, antioxidative, and antitumor activities. Recently, several reports have shown that extract, powder, or some constituents of ginseng could inhibit melanogenesis in vivo or in vitro. The underlying mechanisms of antimelanogenic properties in ginseng or its components include the direct inhibition of key enzymes of melanogenesis, inhibition of transcription factors or signaling pathways involved in melanogenesis, decreasing production of inducers of melanogenesis, and enhancing production of antimelanogenic factor. Although there still remain some controversial issues surrounding the antimelanogenic activity of ginseng, especially in its effect on production of proinflammatory cytokines and nitric oxide, these recent findings suggest that ginseng and its constituents might be potential candidates for novel skin whitening agents.
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Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer is a common herb with many purported health benefits. However, there is no conclusive evidence supporting its use in the treatment of any particular disease. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate randomised controlled trials. Four English databases were searched with no publication date restriction. Included studies evaluated P. ginseng in patients with any type of disease or in healthy individuals. We assessed the quality of studies using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Of the 475 potentially relevant studies, 65 met the inclusion criteria. These studies examined P. ginseng's effects on psychomotor performance (17 studies), physical performance (ten), circulatory system (eight), glucose metabolism (six), the respiratory system (five), erectile dysfunction (four), immunomodulation (four), quality of life/mood (four), antioxidant function (two), cancer (two), menopausal symptoms (two) and dry mouth (one). The risk of bias was unclear in most studies. Authors evaluated adverse events in 40 studies, with 135 minor events and no serious adverse events reported. P. ginseng shows promising results for improving glucose metabolism and moderating the immune response. This may have implications for several diseases including type 2 diabetes and chronic respiratory conditions. Further studies are needed to explore P. ginseng's potential as an effective treatment for these and other health conditions. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Different Panax species derived from Asia (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) and North America (Panax quinquefolium L.) were extracted by methanol and evaluated for relative ginsenoside composition and antioxidant activities. Ginseng root contained a greater proportion of total ginsenoside compared to ginseng hair analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. North American ginseng root was characterized with undetectable ginsenoside Rf and greater Rb1/Rb2 than Asian ginseng root. Panax quinquefolium exhibited a relatively higher (P<0.05) affinity to scavenge free radical than panax ginseng using the 2,2-azobis (3-ethylbenzothine-6-thine-6-surfonic acid) radical model. In a bilayer lamella suspension oxidation model induced by peroxyl radicals, ginseng samples exhibited notable antioxidant activity. Specifically, however, the P. quinquefolium extracts delayed lipid peroxidation longer (P<0.05) than the P. ginseng extracts. Ginseng extracts from both Panax species protected human low-density lipoprotein against cupric ion-mediated oxidation. Similar protection was observed against peroxyl radical-induced supercoiled DNA breakage. A pure ginsenoside standard (e.g., Rb1) produced similar results. The antioxidant activities of different ginseng species and specific plant parts include free radical scavenging and may be related to ginsenoside Rb1/Rb2 content.
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The roots of Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer, known as Korean ginseng have been a valuable and important folk medicine in the East Asian countries, such as China, Korea and Japan for about 2000years. Panax is derived from a word “panacea”, which means cure-all diseases and longevity as well as physical strength and resistance. As the use of traditional Chinese herbs as a food supply becomes more and more popular in the western countries, sales of Panax ginseng are increasing in North America and Europe as well as other parts of the world. Active constituents found in most ginseng species include ginsenosides, polysaccharides, peptides, polyacetylenic alcohols and fatty acids. Major active components in Panax ginseng are the ginsenosides, a group of saponins with triterpenoid dammarane structure. More than 30 ginsenosides have been isolated, and known compounds are identified but new compounds were elucidated. Pharmacological effects of ginseng have been demonstrated in cancer, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular system, immune system and central nervous system including anti-stress and anti-oxidant activity. We have focused this review on the effect of ginseng on diabetes, anticancer activity and cardiovascular system and chemical structures of ginsenosides. In addition, our recent biological study on 20(S)-ginsenoside Rg3 is also touched upon as follows. Multidrug resistance (MDR) has been a major problem in cancer chemotherapy. In this study in vitro and in vivo modulations of MDR by 20(S)-ginsenoside Rg3 (Rg3), a saponin characteristic of red ginseng, was investigated. In flow cytometric analysis using rhodamine 123 as an artificial substrate, Rg3 promoted accumulation of rhodamine 123 in drug-resistant human fibrocarcinoma KBV 20C cells in a dose-dependent manner, but it had no effect on parental KB cells. Additionally Rg3 inhibited [3H]-vinblastine efflux and reversed MDR to DOX (doxorubicin), COL, VCR (vincristine) and VP-16 in KBV20C cells. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immuno-blot analysis after exposure of KBV20C cells to Rg3 showed that inhibition of drug efflux by Rg3 was due to neither repression of MDR1 gene expression nor P-glycoprotein (Pgp) level. Photo-affinity labeling study with [3H]-azidopine, however, revealed that Rg3 competed with [3H]-azidopine for binding to the Pgp demonstrating that G-Rg3 competed with anticancer drug for binding to Pgp thereby blocking drug efflux. Furthermore, Rg3 increased life span in mice implanted with DOX-resistant murine leukemia P388 cells in vivo and inhibited body weight increase significantly. Further clinical trial of Rg3 in reversal of Pgp-associated MDR is highly feasible.
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Background Cellular redox state is important to cell growth and death. The growth of tumor cells may be modulated by intracellular reduced glutathione/oxidized glutathione (GSH/GSSG). The present study aims to investigate the effects of ginsenosides Re and Rg3 on cellular redox state and cell proliferation in C6 glioma cells. Methods Cultured C6 glioma cells were exposed to various concentrations of either Rg3 or Re for 24 hours. Cell growth and death were measured by the BrdU incorporation assay and the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay respectively. Cellular redox state was determined by free radical production using flow cytometry and GSH/GSSG using spectrofluorometry. Results At a sub-lethal concentration, Re suppressed cell proliferation with a significant decrease in BrdU incorporation. Re did not increase reactive oxygen species (ROS) production but increased GSH/GSSG via increased activity of gamma glutamylcystenyl synthase (γ-GCS). In contrast, Rg3 increased free radical production and reduced GSH/GSSG. The effects of Rg3 were probably due to increased activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx). Conclusion Re and Rg3 alter cellular redox state of C6 glioma cells in opposite directions. Changes in cellular redox state induced by Re and Rg3 are correlated with the proliferation rates of C6 glioma cells.
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In Chinese medicine, ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) has long been used as a general tonic or an adaptogen to promote longevity and enhance bodily functions. It has also been claimed to be effective in combating stress, fatigue, oxidants, cancer and diabetes mellitus. Most of the pharmacological actions of ginseng are attributed to one type of its constituents, namely the ginsenosides. In this review, we focus on the recent advances in the study of ginsenosides on angiogenesis which is related to many pathological conditions including tumor progression and cardiovascular dysfunctions. Angiogenesis in the human body is regulated by two sets of counteracting factors, angiogenic stimulators and inhibitors. The 'Yin and Yang' action of ginseng on angiomodulation was paralleled by the experimental data showing angiogenesis was indeed related to the compositional ratio between ginsenosides Rg1 and Rb1. Rg1 was later found to stimulate angiogenesis through augmenting the production of nitric oxide (NO) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Mechanistic studies revealed that such responses were mediated through the PI3K→Akt pathway. By means of DNA microarray, a group of genes related to cell adhesion, migration and cytoskeleton were found to be up-regulated in endothelial cells. These gene products may interact in a hierarchical cascade pattern to modulate cell architectural dynamics which is concomitant to the observed phenomena in angiogenesis. By contrast, the anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic effects of ginsenosides (e.g. Rg3 and Rh2) have been demonstrated in various models of tumor and endothelial cells, indicating that ginsenosides with opposing activities are present in ginseng. Ginsenosides and Panax ginseng extracts have been shown to exert protective effects on vascular dysfunctions, such as hypertension, atherosclerotic disorders and ischemic injury. Recent work has demonstrates the target molecules of ginsenosides to be a group of nuclear steroid hormone receptors. These lines of evidence support that the interaction between ginsenosides and various nuclear steroid hormone receptors may explain the diverse pharmacological activities of ginseng. These findings may also lead to development of more efficacious ginseng-derived therapeutics for angiogenesis-related diseases.
Article
1. In an animal model in vivo, ginsenosides (GS), saponins from Panax ginseng, were shown to protect against myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion damage with concomitant increased 6-keto-PGF1α and decreased lipid peroxidation. 2. In perfused rabbit lung in situ and isolated rabbit aortic rings, GS protected the pulmonary and aortic endotheluim against electrolysis-induced free radical injury. Purified components of GS, Rb1 and especially Rg1, relaxed pulmonary vessels and this effect was eliminated by nitro-L-arginine, an inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) synthase. 3. In cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells, GS enhanced the conversion of [14C]-L-arginine to [14C]-L-citrulline, indicating an increased release of NO. 4. As the neurotransmitter inducing penile erection, NO release was shown to be enhanced by GS in rabbit corpus cavernosum (CC) in vitro. Ginsenosides enhanced both acetylcholine-induced and transmural nerve stimulation-activated relaxation associated with increased tissue cGMP. The latter effect was eliminated by tetrodotoxin and was associated with decreased tissue cGMP. Ginsenoside-enhanced CC relaxation was attenuated by nitro-L-arginine and oxyhaemoglobin, and enhanced by superoxide dismutase. 5. It is postulated that cardiovascular protection by GS may be partly mediated by the release of NO, a potent antioxidant, and that the GS-enhanced release of NO from endothelial cells, especially from perivascular nitric oxidergic nerves in the CC, may partly account for the aphrodisiac effect of Panax ginseng used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Chapter
The major bioactive components of P. ginseng are the ginsenosides, a group of saponins with dammarane triterpenoid structure (Huang 1999). Almost 50 ginsenosides have been isolated from P. ginseng root (white and red ginsengs), and novel structures continue to be identified, particularly from Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng) and Panax japonica (Japanese ginseng) as well as their berries (Gillis 1997; Yoshikawa et al. 1998; Attele et al. 2002; Christensen 2009). In this chapter, we review the structural and pharmacological properties of ginseng, and its active constituents, including ginsenosides, polysaccharides, and polyacetylenic alcohols. The pharmacological and clinical usages of ginseng, particularly ginsenosides, are discussed in relation to its anticancer, antidiabetes, immunomodulatory functions, and improving CNS functions including learning, memory, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Article
To improve its bioavailability and pharmacological effects in humans, red ginseng was fermented with a newly isolated fungus, Monascus pilosus KMU103. Most of the ginsenosides were converted to deglycosylated ginsenocides, such as Rh(1), Rh(2), and Rg(3). The total amount of ginsenosides Rh(1), Rh(2), and Rg(3) was 838.7 mg/kg in the red ginseng, and increased to 4,117 mg/kg after 50 L fermentation in 13% red ginseng and 2% glucose. In addition, the Monascus-fermented red ginseng contained 3,089 mg/kg of monacolin K, one of the metabolites produced by Monascus known to reduce cholesterol in the blood. This newly developed Monascus-fermented red ginseng should result in improved health effects, not only by biotransforming gisenosides to deglycosylated ones but also by creating additional bioactive compounds.
Article
Hypoglycemic effects of malonyl-ginsenosides (MGR), extracted from roots of Panax ginseng, were examined in streptozotocin- (STZ-) induced diabetic mice. Animals received daily intravenous injections of MGR in doses of 30, 60, 120 mg/kg. At a dose of 120 mg/kg, MGR reduced the fasting blood glucose level of diabetic mice by 77.8% (76.7 +/- 8.5 mg/dl versus 345.2 +/- 35.8 mg/dl, P < 0.01). The same dose also showed a marked improvement in glucose tolerance of 80% (75.3 +/- 10.8 mg/dl versus 375.6 +/- 43.3 mg/dl, P < 0.01) in diabetic mice after four days. The alkali hydrolysis productions of MGR, ginseng panaxadiol (PDS), malonic acid and a mixture of malonic acid with PDS, showed no effects on fasting blood glucose levels indicated the hypoglycemic effect of MGR relied on their unique esterified chemical structures. The findings from this study suggest that MGR extracted from Panax ginseng may be prescribed as adjunct to drug treatment for controlling diabetes mellitus.
Article
Korean red ginseng (unskinned Panax ginseng before it is steamed or otherwise heated and subsequently dried) is one of the most widely used herbal remedies. This systematic review evaluates the current evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction. Systematic searches were conducted on 20 electronic databases without language restrictions. Hand-searches included conference proceedings and our files. All randomized clinical studies (RCT) of red ginseng as a treatment of erectile dysfunction were considered for inclusion. Methodological quality was assessed using the Jadad score. Seven RCTs met all the inclusion criteria. Their methodological quality was low on average. Six of the included RCTs compared the therapeutic efficacy of red ginseng with placebo. The meta-analysis of these data showed a significant effect (n = 349, risk ratio, 2.40; 95% CI of 1.65, 3.51, p < 0.00001, heterogeneity: tau(2) = 0.05, chi(2) = 6.42, p = 0.27, I(2) = 22%). Subgroup analyses also showed beneficial effects of red ginseng in psychogenic erectile dysfunction (n = 135, risk ratio, 2.05; 95% CI of 1.33, 3.16, p = 0.001, heterogeneity: chi(2) = 0.08, p = 0.96, I(2) = 0%). Collectively these RCTs provide suggestive evidence for the effectiveness of red ginseng in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. However, the total number of RCTs included in the analysis, the total sample size and the methodological quality of the primary studies were too low to draw definitive conclusions. Thus more rigorous studies are necessary.
Article
Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal remedies, and a number of health claims are made for it. This systematic review provides an evaluation of the current evidence for or against the efficacy of ginseng root extract. Searches of the computerised literature databases Medline, Embase, Biosis, CISCOM and the Cochrane Library were performed to retrieve double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trials of ginseng root extract for any indication. Manufacturers and experts were contacted to provide additional information. There were no restrictions regarding the language of publication. The outcome and methodological quality of all trials were independently assessed by two reviewers. Sixteen trials met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. These trials related to physical performance, psychomotor performance and cognitive function, immunomodulation, diabetes mellitus and herpes simplex type-II infections. The evidence found for ginseng root extract is compelling for none of these indications. Based on these data, it is concluded that the efficacy of ginseng root extract is not established beyond reasonable doubt for any of these indications. The widespread use of ginseng as a herbal remedy warrants more rigorous investigations to assess its efficacy and safety.
Article
In Asia, ginseng is commonly included in herbals used for the treatment of sexual dysfunction. Recent studies in laboratory animals have shown that both Asian and American forms of ginseng enhance libido and copulatory performance. These effects of ginseng may not be due to changes in hormone secretion, but to direct effects of ginseng, or its ginsenoside components, on the central nervous system and gonadal tissues. Indeed, there is good evidence that ginsenosides can facilitate penile erection by directly inducing the vasodilatation and relaxation of penile corpus cavernosum. Moreover, the effects of ginseng on the corpus cavernosum appear to be mediated by the release and/or modification of release of nitric oxide from endothelial cells and perivascular nerves. Treatment with American ginseng also affects the central nervous system and has been shown to significantly alter the activity of hypothalamic catecholamines involved in the facilitation of copulatory behavior and hormone secretion. Recent findings that ginseng treatment decreased prolactin secretion also suggested a direct nitric oxide-mediated effect of ginseng at the level of the anterior pituitary. Thus, animal studies lend growing support for the use of ginseng in the treatment of sexual dysfunction and provide increasing evidence for a role of nitric oxide in the mechanism of ginsenoside action.
Article
The present paper describes three studies examining the acute effects of single doses of Ginkgo biloba (GK501), Ginseng (G115) and their combination (Ginkoba M/E, Pharmaton SA) on the performance of healthy young adults (mean age 21 years) during serial arithmetic tasks with differing cognitive load. In each double-blind, placebo-controlled study three different treatment doses and a placebo were administered, according to a balanced crossover design, with a 7-day washout period between each dose. Participants' scores on two computerised serial subtraction tasks (Serial Threes and Serial Sevens) were assessed pre-dosing and at 1, 2.5, 4 and 6 h thereafter. A number of significant time, dose and task-specific effects were associated with each treatment. There was a dose-dependent improvement in speed of responding during Serial Threes following Ginkgo biloba. Different doses of Ginseng improved accuracy and slowed responses during Serial Sevens. The most striking result, however, was a highly significant and sustained increase in the number of Serial Sevens responses following 320 mg of the Ginkgo–Ginseng combination at all post-treatment testing times. This was accompanied by improved accuracy during Serial Sevens and Serial Threes following the 640 mg and the 960 mg dose, respectively. The paper concludes with speculation into the possible mechanisms underlying these effects. Copyright
Article
Panax ginseng is marketed and used to maintain natural energy, increase mental and physical abilities, improve mood and promote general health and well-being. Panax ginseng has been studied in a number of randomized clinical trials investigating its effect on physical and psychomotor performance, cognitive function, immunomodulation, diabetes mellitus and herpes simplex type-II infections. Equivocal results have been demonstrated for many of these indications. P. ginseng is also commonly used to promote quality of life (QoL). As a result, ginseng's effect on QoL has become an increasingly important endpoint in clinical trials. We reviewed all studies (n = 9) that determined the effect of P. ginseng on QoL. P. ginseng's has been evaluated at dosages of 80-400 mg. Study duration has spanned from 2 to 9 months. Several QoL measures have been used, ranging from widely accepted core instruments to unpublished investigator-derived questionnaires. In addition, many of the investigators utilized ginseng extracts that were supplemented with vitamins and minerals while others used only standardized ginseng extract. Populations evaluated also differed in terms of underlying morbidity. Nearly every study evaluated (n = 8) demonstrated some degree of QoL improvement. Beneficial effects were evident within instrument summary component scores but improvement in overall composite scores of QoL was rarely seen. However, findings were equivocal. While populations evaluated varied in terms of underlying morbidity, there did not appear to be a substantial difference in their response to ginseng with respect to QoL. Despite some positive results, improvement in overall health-related quality of life cannot, given the current research, be attributed to P. ginseng. However, the possibility that various facets of QoL may have improved and the potential of early transient effects cannot be discounted.
Article
An analytical multi-residue method using gas chromatography coupled with electron capture and a nitrogen-phosphorus detector was investigated for the simultaneous determination of 18 commonly used insecticides and fungicides in Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer). Samples were previously extracted with an acetonitrile and cleaned up by solid-phase extraction (SPE). The calibration curves were linear, with determination coefficients higher than 0.989. Recoveries at concentrations between 0.01 and 14.9 ppm ranged from 72.3 to 117.2%, with precision, which was expressed as relative standard deviation (RSD), at values lower than 5%. The proposed method was applied to the determination of pesticide levels from 12 ginseng samples, taken from four different agricultural areas of Jeonnam province, where several insecticides and fungicides were applied. Except in one sample, tolclofos-m was the only pesticide contained at a level lower than the maximum residue limits (MRL) authorized by the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) in real ginseng samples grown for 4, 5 and 6 years.
Article
Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer is a well-known medicinal herb native to China and Korea, and has been used as a herbal remedy in eastern Asia for thousands of years. However, there is different evidence of ginseng efficacy between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), modern pharmacological experiments and clinical trials. In TCM, ginseng is a highly valued herb and has been applied to a variety of pathological conditions and illnesses such as hypodynamia, anorexia, shortness of breath, palpitation, insomnia, impotence, hemorrhage and diabetes. Modern pharmacological experiments have proved that ginseng possesses multiple constituents (ginsenosides, polysaccharides, peptides, polyacetylenic alcohols, etc.) and actions (central nervous system effects, neuroprotective effect, immunomodulation, anticancer, etc.), ginsenosides as the active ingredients, especially, having antioxidant, antiinflammatory, antiapoptotic and immunostimulant properties. Recently, ginseng has been studied in a number of randomized controlled trials investigating its effect mainly on physical and psychomotor performance, cognitive function, immunomodulation, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular risk factors, quality of life, as well as adverse effects. Equivocal results have been demonstrated for many of these indications. Because of the poor quality of most clinical trials on ginseng, reliable clinical data in humans are still lacking. Therefore, a broader understanding of medical knowledge and reasoning on ginseng is necessary.