Panax ginseng C.A.Mey

Last updated: 30 May 2015

Scientific Name

Panax ginseng C.A.Mey

Synonyms

Aralia ginseng (C.A.Mey.) Baill., Panax verus Oken, Panax chin-seng Nees. Aralia quinquefolia var. ginseng (C.A.Mey.) auct. Panax chin-seng Nees, Panax quinquefolius var. ginseng (C.A.Mey.) Regel & Maack, Panax schin-seng var. coraiensis T.Nees. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Ginseng, korean ginseng, Chinese ginseng, asian ginseng, oriental ginseng [2], five fingers, korian ginseng, Manchurian ginseng, red ginseng, tartar root, white ginseng [3]
China Ren shen [2], jen-shen,tsai shen, yang shen, yuan shen [3]
Thailand Som, som kao li [3]
Korea In sam, san sam [3]
Japan Chousen ninjin, ninjin, otane ninjin, yakuyo ninjin [3]
Brazil Ginsao, ginseng da chine, ginseng da coreia do sul, jinsao [3]
Republic Czech Vsehoj zensenovy, zensen pravy [3]
Denmark Egte ginseng, ginseng, koreansk ginseng, kraftrod, orientalsk ginseng [3]
Netherland Echte ginseng, ginseng, koreannse, vingerplant [3]
Norwegian Asiatisk ginseng, ekte ginseng, ginseng, kinesisk ginseng, koreansk ginseng [3]
Finland Ginseng, ginsengjuuri [3]
France Ginseng, ginseng asiatique, ginseng coreen, racine de ginseng [3]
German Aiatischer ginseng, chinesisscher ginseng, gin seng, ginseng-wurzel, koreanischer ginseng, kraftwurz, kraftwurzel [3]
Italy Ginseng [3]
Hungary Ginszeng, koreai ginszeng, kinai ginseng, kinai koreai ginseng [3]
Spain Ginseng, Ginseng asiatico, ginseng chino, ginseng coreano, ginseng rojo [3]
Sweeden Ginseng [3]
Russian Zhen shen, zhen shen obyknovennyi [3]
Portugal Jinsao da china [3]
Poland Zen-szen, zen-zen-szen prawdziwy [3].

Geographical Distributions

P. ginseng are cultivated in China, Korea, Japan and Russia. [2][4]

Botanical Description

P. ginseng is a member of araliaceae family. P. ginseng is a small perennial herb, 30-80 cm high with fleshy, fudiform, aromatic, thick and branched roots. The stem is cylindrical, smooth, green often with atinge of red, regurlarly divided at the top into three petioles with a flower stalk in their center. The petiole is cylindrical, smooth and swollen at the base. The leaves are obovate 7-20 cm long. The flowers are small yellowish, green, and bisexual. The fruit a drupe , red, globeose [4]

Cultivation

No documentation

Chemical Constituent

P. ginseng has been reported to contain saponin glycosides (ginsenosides), glycans (panaxans A-E), sterols β-sitosterol), adenosine, minerals including zinc and magnesium, vitamins B1, B2. [5][6] Ginsenoside compound K is the main metabolite of protopanaxadiol type ginseng saponins in intestine after oral administration and also is the major form of protopanaxadiol saponins absorbed to the body. [7]

Plant Part Used

Root [3]

Traditional Use

P. ginseng has been used for a variety of health benefits, especially for its adaptogenic and tonic effects for people fatigued or under stress. [8] P. ginseng is an adaptogen, having a non-specific action on various functions of the body that increases its ability to cope with various stressors, including physiologic, emotional, and endogenic (external) stress. Thus, P. ginseng can reduce susceptibility to illness. [9]

Preclinical Data

Pharmacology

Adaptogen

The main biologically active ingredients of ginseng root (American and Korean/Asian) are the more than 20 saponin triterpenoid glycosides called "ginsenosides". There are two major sub-types of ginsenosides, protopanaxadiol and protopanaxatriol. Rb1, Rb2, Rc, and Rd are examples of protopanaxadiol ginsenosides. Re, Rf, Rg1, and Rg2 are examples of protopanaxatriols. The Rb1 groups, predominant in the diol series, are reported to have an ability to improve stamina and learning capacity, as well as sedative and hypoglycemic properties. American ginseng (Panax quinquifolius) contains more of the Rb1 diols than Asian/Korean, and may be more suitable for individuals who are coffee drinkers, overweight, or with insomnia. The Rg1 groups, predominant in the triol series, reportedly raise blood pressure slightly in some instances and are mild central nervous system stimulants. Asian or Korean ginseng (P. ginseng) contains more Rg1 triols and may be more suitable for individuals who are non-hypertensive, athletes, fatigued or with high stress jobs. [10]

It is thought that ginsenosides act at hormone receptor sites, especially the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPA), stimulating secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). [11] ACTH stimulates the production of adrenal hormones and other factors, leading to balance and regulation of the hypothalamic/adrenal axis that may have been influenced by stress.

Hepatic Effects

Ginsenosides reportedly stimulate RNA, protein synthesis and cholesterol production in the liver. [12] Ginsenosides may increase hepatic rough endoplasmic reticulum and have carbohydrate-sparing and stamina-increasing activity in muscle tissues. Ginsenosides have also been reported in laboratory studies to increase enzyme activity, fatty acid production and decrease oxidative stress in the liver. [13]

Blood Sugar Regulation

P. ginseng has been reported in laboratory and human studies to have blood sugar regulatory activity. [14][15][16] Human studies support the use of P. ginseng in individuals with diabetes and blood sugar regulatory problems. [17][18] Components of P. ginseng, including glycans and adenosine, reportedly exhibit the ability to lower blood sugar in diabetic mice and yet have no effect on normally functioning lab animals. [19] An animal study evaluated obese diabetic mice who received intraperitoneal P. ginseng berry extract and its major constituent, ginsenoside Re, for twelve days. On the twelfth day the mice were normoglycemic (137 ± 6.7 mg/dL) and had significantly improved glucose tolerance. Other effects observed were reduced serum cholesterol as well as weight loss due to less food consumption, increased body temperature and increased energy expenditure. [20] Rg3 extract from P. ginseng has been reported to affect insulin secretion and AMPK activation in laboratory studies. [21] Studies report that P. ginseng lowers cortisol levels in diabetics, having a positive benefit with regard to insulin regulation. In non-diabetic subjects, Panax ginseng elevates cortisol levels - showing the "adaptogenic" effect of P. ginseng.

Cardiovascular Effects

Ginsenosides and P. ginseng extracts have been reported in laboratory studies to exert protective effects on vascular dysfunctions, such as hypertension, atherosclerotic disorders and ischemic injury. [22]P. ginseng reportedly has hypertensive and hypotensive effects that are dose dependent. [23] Lower doses have produced a hypertensive effect, and higher doses have a hypotensive effect. [24] P. ginseng may decrease total cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet adhesiveness and may increase HDL cholesterol, making it valuable in cardiovascular health. [25] A 2006 meta anaysis found that P. ginseng had no appreciable effects on cardiovascular risk factors. [26]

A systematic review of human studies found P. ginseng extracts to be beneficial in improving erectile dysfunction in men though improved nitric oxide production. [27]

Immune/Anticancer

P. ginseng may reduce the risk of viral infection. [28] Additionally, P. ginseng is reported to have anticancer and anti-aging effects on cells and immunostimulating activity, especially to the reticuloendothelial system. [29]

P. ginseng is reported to have anticancer activity in laboratory studies by increasing apoptosis, decreasing inflammation and improving immunity. [14][30][31][32] P. ginseng may have protective effects for individuals undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.(18) Studies have reported a decrease in weight loss and greater white blood cell counts in lab animals administered ginseng simultaneously with chemotherapeutics. [33] Rg3 extract from P. ginseng has been reported useful as an adjuvant anti-cancer agent, improving susceptibility of cancer cells to chemotherapy drugs. [30][34]P. ginseng may also speed recovery from surgery. P. ginseng has been reported to help the body adapt to physiologic stress caused by chemotherapy and radiation. [35][36]

Results of The Shanghai women’s health study cohort found no association between ginseng intake and gastric cancer risk in 74,942 Chinese women aged 40-70. [37]

Memory/Cognition

A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial involving 30 individuals indicated that P. ginseng seemed to improve mental health and social functioning after 4 weeks of therapy in the areas measured. Though the study continued therapy for 4 additional weeks, the benefits noted at the 4 week point were no longer observed at the 8 week point. [38]

P. ginseng has been reported in laboratory and human studies to improve memory and reduce cognitive decline, showing potential usefulness in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. [39][40][41] Components of P. ginseng including Rg3, are reported to decrease neuro inflammation and have neuroprotective activity. [37][42][43] Rg3 was reported to promote β-amyloid peptide degradation in a laboratory study. [44] 

P. ginseng may offer some positive benefits as a general tonic for improved stamina and overall health, especially for stressful conditions, fatigue, concentration, and recovery from illness. A 2009 human study following ginseng use in 6282 Korea individuals 55 years or older from March 1985 to December 2003 was analysed. Adjusting for age, education, occupation, drinking, smoking, self-reported chronic disease, body mass index, and blood pressure, all-cause mortality for male ginseng users was significantly lower than that for male nonusers, but not in women. [41]

Toxicity

No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Side effects

Adverse effects can include diarrhea, insomnia, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, anxiety and extreme nervousness. [8][45] If excitability occurs, it may be necessary to reduce the dose. Ginseng may cause breast tenderness or menopausal bleeding in some women. [46][47]

Ginseng Abuse Syndrome (GAS) may occur in prolonged and high doses (includes diarrhea, hypertension, nervousness, skin eruptions, and sleeplessness). [48]

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

Use is contraindicated in pregnancy and lactation. [31][49]

Interaction & Depletion

Drugs metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzyme system. Compounds in P. ginseng have been reported to induce CYP1A1 in laboratory studies. [50]

Chemotherapy drugs; Components of P. ginseng has been reported in laboratory studies to improve chemotherapy effects on cancer cells. [30][35]

Contraindications

No documentation

Case Report

No documentation

Dosage

No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation

References

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