Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Comparison of the pharmacological effects of Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolium

Abstract

Medical application of Panax ginseng was first found in “Shen-Nong Herbal Classic” around 200 AD Panax quinquefolium was first introduced in “Essential of Materia Medica” in 1694 in China. The most important bioactive components contained in P ginseng and P quinquefolium are ginseng saponins (GS). The contents of ginsenoside Rb1, Re, and Rd in P quinquefolium are higher than they are in P ginseng. In P ginseng, the contents of Rg1,Rb2, and Rc are higher than they are in P quinquefolium. P ginseng had a higher ratio of Rg1: Rb1, and which was lower in P quinquefolium. After steaming for several hours, the total GS will decrease. However, some ginsenosides (Rg2, 20R-Rg2, Rg3, Rh1 and Rh2) increase, while others (Rb1, Rb2, Rb3, Rc, Rd, Re, and Rg1) decrease. However, variation, especially in P quinquefolium, is high. P ginseng and P quinquefolium are general tonics and adaptogens. Rg1 and Rb1 enhance central nervous system (CNS) activities, but the effect of the latter is weaker. Thus, for the higher contents of Rg1, P ginseng is a stimulant, whereas the Rb1 contents of P quinquefolium are mainly calming to the CNS. Re, Rg1, panaxan A and B from P ginseng are good for diabetes. Re and Rg1 enhance angiogenesis, whereas Rb1, Rg3 and Rh2 inhibit it. Rh2, an antitumor agent, can be obtained from Rb1 by steaming. The content of Re in P quinquefolium are higher than in P ginseng by 3-4 times. The vasorelax, antioxidant, antihyperlipidemic, and angiogenic effects of Re are reported. Thus, for the CNS “hot,” wound healing and hypoglycemic effects, P ginseng is better than P quinquefolium. For anticancer effects, P quinquefolium is better.

References

  1. 1

    Zhao HZ, editor. Cyclopedia of Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Hong Kong: Rong-Zhai Publishers; 1998. p 9. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Li FY, editor. Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Beijing: Chinese Agriculture Scientech Press; 2006. p. 587–91. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Kiangsu Institute of Modern Medicine. Encyclopedia of Chinese Drug. Shanghai: Shanghai Scientific Technical Publication; 1977. p 29–36, 850–1. [In Chinese].

  4. 4

    State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People's Republic of China. Zhong-Hua-Ben-Cao, Condensed edition. Shanghai: Shanghai Scientific Technical Publication; 1996. p 1269–74, p 1301–5. [In Chinese].

  5. 5

    Zhao HZ, editor. Cyclopedia of Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Hong Kong: Rong-Zhai Publishers; 1998. p 249. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Zhao HZ, editor. Cyclopedia of Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Hong Kong: Rong-Zhai Publishers; 1998. p 223, p 231. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Court WA, Reynolds LB, Hendel JG . Influence of root age on the concentration of ginsenosides of American ginseng (Panax quinque-folium). Can J Plant Sci 1996; 76: 853–5.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Tanaka O, Sakai R . Saponins of Ginseng and related plants. In: Herz W, Grisebach H ( Editors). Progress in chemistry of organic natural products. Vienna: Spring-Verlag, 1984. p 1–76.

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Yang CR, Zhou J, Tanaka O . Chemotaxanomic studies and the utilization of Panax species. Acta Bot Yunnanica 1988 Suppl. 1: 47–62. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Li FY, editor. Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Beijing: Chinese Agriculture Scientech Press; 2006. p 486–7. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Wang CZ, Aung HH, Ni M, Wu JA, Tong R, Wicks S, et al. Red American ginseng: ginsenoside constituents and antiproliferative activities of heat-processed Panax quinquefolium roots. Planta Med 2007; 73: 669–74.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Assinewe VA, Baum BR, Gagnon D, Arnason JT . Phytochemistry of wild populations of Panax quinquefolium (North American ginseng). J Agric Food Chem 2003; 51: 4549–53.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Schlag EM, Mclntosh MS . Ginsenoside content and variation among and within American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L.) populations. Phytochemistry 2006; 67: 1510–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Wills RBH, Du XW, Stuart DI . Changes in ginsenosides in Australian-grown American ginseng plants (Panax quinquefolium L.). Aust J Exp Agric 2002; 42: 1119–23.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Cui JF . Identification and quantification of ginsenosides in various commercial ginseng preparations. Eur J Pharmacol Sci 1995; 3: 77–85.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Ma YC, Luo M, Mally L, Doucer M . Distribution and proportion of major ginsenosides and quality control of ginseng products. Chin J Med Chem 1996; 6: 11–21.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Popovich DG, Kitts DD . Generation of ginsenosides Rg3 and Rh2 from North American ginseng. Phytochemistry 2004; 65: 337–44.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Li WK, Gu CG, Zhang HJ, Awang DVC, Fitzloff JF, Fong HHS, et al. Use of high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spec-trometry to distinguish Panax ginseng L.A. Meyer (Asian ginseng) and Panax quinquefolium L. (North American ginseng). Anal Chem 2000; 72: 5417–22.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Li FY, editor. Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Beijing: Chinese Agriculture Scientech Press; 2002. p 547–553. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Li FY, editor. Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Beijing: Chinese Agriculture Scientech Press; 2002. p 544. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Li FY, editor. Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Beijing: Chinese Agriculture Scientech Press; 2002. p 554, p 555. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Li FY, editor. Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Beijing: Chinese Agriculture Scientech Press; 2002. p 546. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Li FY, editor. Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Beijing: Chinese Agriculture Scientech Press; 2002. p 557. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Li FY, editor. Panax ginseng and American ginseng. Beijing: Chinese Agriculture Scientech Press; 2002. p 577. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Chang Y, Huang WJ, Tien LT, Wang SJ . Ginsenosides Rg1 and Rb1 enhance glutamate release through activation of protein kinase A in rat cerebrocortical nerve terminals (synaptosomes). Eur J Pharmacol 2008; 578: 28–36.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Zhang JT, Chui DH, Chen CF, editors. The chemistry metabolism and biological activities of ginseng. Beijing: Chemical Industry Press; 2006.

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    Nah SY, Kim DH, Rhim H . Ginsenosides: are any of them candidates for drugs acting on the central nervous system? J Compil 2007; 13: 381–404.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. 28

    Tian JW, Fu FH, Geng MY, Jiang YT, Yang JX, Jiang WL, et al. Neuroprotective effect of 20(s)-ginsenoside Rg3 on cerebral ischemia in rats. Neurosci Lett 2005; 374: 92–7.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. 29

    Wu CF, Bi XL, Yang JY, Zhan JY, Dong YX, Wang JH, et al. Differential effects of ginsenosides on NO and TNF-alpha production by LPS-activated N9 microglia. Intern Immnuopharmacol 2007; 7: 312–20.

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30

    Radad K, Gille G, Liu LL, Rausch WD . Use of ginseng in medicine with emphasis on neurodegenerative disorders. J Pharmacol Sci 2006; 100: 175–86.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. 31

    Chow SY, Chen CF, Hu WS . Pharmacological studies on Chinese herbs with potential hypotensive, analgesic and/or antipyretic effects. Natl Sci Coun Month 1976; 4: 2341–4. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  32. 32

    Jeon BH, Kim CS, Park KS, Lee JW, Park JB, Kim KJ, et al. Effect of Korea red ginseng on the blood pressure in conscious hypertensive rats. Gen Pharmacol 2000; 35: 135–41.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. 33

    Han KH, Choe SC, Kim HS, Sohn DW, Nam KY, Oh BH, et al. Effect of red ginseng on blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension and white coat hypertension. Am J Chin Med 1998; 26: 199–209.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. 34

    Sung J, Han KH, Zo JH, Park HJ, Kim CH, Oh BH . Effects of red ginseng upon vascular endothelial function in patients with essential hypertension. Am J Chin Med 2000; 28: 205–16.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. 35

    Kang SY, Schini-Kerth VB, Kim ND . Ginsenosides of the protopa-naxatriol group cause endothelium-dependent relaxation in the rat aorta. Life Sci 1995; 56: 1577–86.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. 36

    Chen X . Cardiovascular protection by ginsenosides and their nitric oxide releasing action. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol 1996; 23: 728–32.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. 37

    Kim DN, Kim EM, Kang KW, Cho MK, Choi SY, Kim SG . Gin-senoside Rg3 inhibits phenylephrine-induced vascular contraction through induction of nitric oxide synthase. Br J Pharmacol 2003; 140: 661–70.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  38. 38

    Nakajima S, Uchiyama Y, Yoshida K, Mizukawa H, Haruki E . The effect of ginseng radius rubra on human vascular endothelial cells. Am J Chin Med 1998; 26: 365–73.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. 39

    Sengupta S, Toh SA, Sellers LA, Skepper JN, Koolwijk P, Leung HW, et al. Modulating angiogenesis: the yin and the yang in ginseng. Circulation 2004; 110: 1219–25.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. 40

    Park HJ, Lee JH, Song YB, Park KH . Effects of dietary supplementation of lipophilic fraction from Panax ginseng on cGMP and cAMP in rat platelets and on blood coagulation. Biol Pharm Bull 1996; 19: 1434–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. 41

    Lim J H, Wen TC, Matsuda S, Tanaka J, Maeda N, Peng H, et al. Protection of ischaemic hippocampal neuron by ginsenosides Rb1, a.main ingredient of ginseng root. Neurosci Res 1997; 28: 191–200.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. 42

    Liu ZX, Liu XC . Effect of ginsenoside Rb 1 and Re on cardiomyocyte apoptosis after ischemia and reperfusion in rats. Chin J Histochem Cytochem 2002; 11: 374–7. [In Chinese].

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  43. 43

    Smolinsk AT, Pestka JJ . Modulation of lipopolysaccharide-induced proinflammatory cytokine production in vitro and in vivo by the herbal constituents apigenin (chamomile), ginsenoside Rb(l)(ginseng) and parthenolide (feverfew). Food Chem Toxicol 2003; 41: 1381–90.

    Google Scholar 

  44. 44

    Sun K, Wang CS, Guo J, Horie Y, Fang SP, Wang F, et al. Protective effects of ginsenoside Rbl, ginsenoside Rgl, and notoginsenoside Rl on lipopolysaccharide-induced microcirculatory disturbance in rat mesentery. Life Sci 2007; 81: 509–18.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. 45

    Ro JY, Ahn YS, Kim KH . Inhibitory effect of ginsenoside on the mediator release in the guinea pig lung mast cells activated by specific antigen-antibody reactions. Int J Immunopharmacol 1998; 20: 625–41.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. 46

    Keum YS, Han SS, Chun KS, Park KK, Park JH, Lee SK et al. Inhibitory effects of the ginsenoside Rg3 on phorbol ester-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression, NF-kappaB activation and tumor promotion. Mutat Res 2003; 523–524: 75–8.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. 47

    Park EK, Shin YW, Lee HU, Kim SS, Lee YC, Lee BY, et al. Inhibitory effect of ginsenoside Rb 1 and compound K on NO and prosta-glandin E2 biosynthesis of RAW 264.7 cells induced by lipopolysac-charide. Biol Pharm Bull 2005; 28: 652–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. 48

    Shin HR, Kim JY, Yun TK, Morgan G, Vainio H . The cancer-preventive potential of Panax ginseng: a review of human and experimental evidence. Cancer Causes Control 2000; 11: 565–76.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. 49

    Yun TK, Lee YS, Lee YH, Kim SI, Yun HY Anticarcinogenic effect of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer and identification of active compounds. J Korean Med Sci 2001; 16 Suppl: S6–18.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  50. 50

    Popovich DG, Kitts DD . Structure-function relationship exists for ginsenosides in reducing cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis in the human leukemia (THP-1) cell line. Arch Biochem Biophys 2002; 406: 1–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  51. 51

    Popovich DG, Kitts DD . Ginsenosides can inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in cultured leukemia and intestinal cells but effects vary according to the structure of the compounds. FASEB J 2003; 17: A762.

    Google Scholar 

  52. 52

    Helms S . Cancer prevention and therapeutics: Panax ginseng. Alter Med Rev 2004; 9: 259–74.

    Google Scholar 

  53. 53

    Yoo HH, Yokozawa T, Satoh A, Kang KS, Kim HY . Effects of ginseng on the proliferation of human lung fibroblasts. Am J Chin Med 2006; 34: 137–46.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  54. 54

    Sohn JW, Lee CH, Chung DJ, Park SH, Kim IS, Hwang WI . Effect of petroleum of Panax ginseng roots on proliferation and cell cycle progression of human renal cell carcinoma cells. Exp Mol Med 1998; 30: 47–51.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. 55

    Suzuki Y, Hikino H . Mechanisms of hypoglycaemic activity of pa-naxans A and B, glycans of Panax ginseng roots: effects on plasma level, secretion, sensitivity and binding of insulin in mice. Phytother Res 1989; 3: 20–4.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  56. 56

    Takaku T, Kameda K, Matsuura Y, Sekiya K, Okuda H . Studies on insulin-like substances in Korea red ginseng. Planta Med 1990; 56: 27–30.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  57. 57

    Tchilian EZ, Zhelezarov IE, Hadjivanova CI . Effect of ginsenoside Rgl on insulin binding in mice liver and membranes. Phytother Res 1991; 5: 46–8.

    Google Scholar 

  58. 58

    Sotaniemi EA, Haapakoski E, Rautio A . Ginseng therapy in non-insulin dependent diabetic patients. Diabetes Care 1995; 18: 1373–5.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  59. 59

    Attele AS, Zhou YP, Xie JT, Wu JA, Zhang L, Dey L, et al. Antidi-abetic effects of Panax ginseng berry extract and the identification of an effective component. Diabetes 2002; 5: 1851–8.

    Google Scholar 

  60. 60

    Xie JT, Zhou YP, Dey L, Attele AS, Wu JA, Gu M, et al. Ginseng berry reduces blood glucose and body weight in db/db mice. Phyto-medicine 2002; 9: 254–8.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  61. 61

    Dey L, Xie JT, Wang A, Wu J, Maleckar SA, Yuan CS . Antihypergly-cemic effects of ginseng: comparison between root and berry. Phyto-medicine 2003; 10: 600–5.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  62. 62

    Xie JT, Mehandale SR, Wang A, Han AH, Wu JA, Osinski J, et al. American ginseng leaf: ginsenoside analysis and hypoglycemic activity. Pharmacol Review 2004; 49: 113–17.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  63. 63

    Xie JT, Mehandale SR, Li X, Quigg K, Wang X, Wang CZ, et al. An-tidiabetic effect of ginsenoside Re in db/db mice. Biochim Biophys Acta 2005; 1740: 319–25.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  64. 64

    Xie JT, Mehandale S, Yuan CS . Ginseng and diabetes. Am J Chin Med 2005; 33: 397–404.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  65. 65

    Cho WCS, Chang WS, Lee SKW, Leung AWN, Cheng CHK, Yue KKM . Ginsenoside Re of Panax ginseng possesses significant an-tioxidant and antihypelipidemic efficacies in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Eur J Pharmacol 2006; 550: 173–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  66. 66

    Cho WC, Yip TT, Chung WS, Lee SK, Leung AW, Cheng CH, et al. Altered expression of serum protein in ginsenoside Re-treated diabetic rats defected by SELDI-TOF MS. J Ethnopharmacol 2006; 108: 272–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  67. 67

    Chan RY, Chen WF, Guo DA, Wong MS . Estrogen-like activity of ginsenoside Rgl derived from Panax notoginseng. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002; 87: 3691–5.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  68. 68

    Lee Y, Jin Y, Lin W, Ji S, Choi S, Jang S, et al. Ginsenoside-Rhl, a component of ginseng saponin, activates estrogen receptor in human breast carcinoma MCF-7 cells. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2003; 84: 463–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  69. 69

    Cho J, Park W, Lee S, Ahn W, Lee Y Ginsenoside-Rb1 from Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer activates estrogen receptor-α and β, independent of ligand binding. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2004; 89: 3510–15.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  70. 70

    Bae EA, Shin JE, Kim DH . Metabolism of ginsenoside Re by human intestinal microflora and its estrogenic effect. Biol Pharm Bull 2005; 28: 1903–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  71. 71

    Nakaya Y, Mawatari K, Takahashi A, Harada, N, Hata A, Yasui S . The phytoestrogen ginsenoside Re activates potassium channels of vascular smooth muscle cells through PI3K/Akt and nitric oxide pathways. J Med Invest 2007; 54: 381–4.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  72. 72

    Yu J, Eto M, Akishita M, Kaneko A, Ouchi Y, Okahe T . Signaling pathway of nitric oxide production induced by ginsenoside Rbl in human aortic endothelial cells: A possible involvement of androgen receptor. Bichem Biophys Res Commu 2007; 353: 764–9.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  73. 73

    Huang YC, Chen CT, Chen SC, Lai PH, Liang HC, Chang Y, et al. A natural compound (ginsenoside Re) isolated from Panax ginseng as a novel angiogenic agent for tissue regeneration. Pharm Res 2005; 22: 636–46.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  74. 74

    Yue PY, Mak NK, Cheng YK, Leung KW, Ng TB, Fan DTP, et al. Pharmacogenomics and the Yin/Yang actions of ginseng: antitumor, angiomodulating and steroid-like activities of ginsenosides. Chin Med 2007; 2: 6.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  75. 75

    Sato K, Mochizuki M, Saiki I, Yoo YC, Samukawa K, Azuma I . Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis by a saponin of Panax ginseng, ginsenoside-Rb2. Biol Pharm Bull 1994; 17: 635–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  76. 76

    Mochizuki M, Yoo YC, Matsuzawa K, Sato K, Saiki I, Tono-oka S, et al. Inhibitory effect of tumor metastasis in mice by saponins, ginsenoside-Rb2, 20(R)-and 20(S)-ginsenoside-Rg3, of red ginseng. Biol Pharm Bull 1995; 18: 1197–202.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  77. 77

    Shinkai K, Akedo H, Mukai M, Imamure F, Isoai A, Kobayashi M, et al. Inhibition of in vitro tumor cell invasion by ginsenoside Rg3. Jpn J Cancer Res 1996; 87: 357–62.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  78. 78

    Tao H, Yao M, Zou S, Zhao D, Qiu H . Effect of angiogenesis inhibitor Rg3 on the growth and metastasis of gastric cancer in SCID mice. Zhoughua Waike Zazhi 2002; 40: 606–8. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  79. 79

    Kang XM, Zhang QY, Tong DD, Zhao W . Experimental study on anti-angiogenesis in mice with Lewis lung carcinoma by low-dose of cyclophosphamide combined with ginsenoside Rg3. Zhongguo Zhongxiyi Jiehe Zazhi 2002; 25: 730–3. [In Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chieh-fu Chen.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Chen, Cf., Chiou, Wf. & Zhang, Jt. Comparison of the pharmacological effects of Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolium. Acta Pharmacol Sin 29, 1103–1108 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-7254.2008.00868.x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Panax ginseng
  • Panax quinquefolium
  • steaming ginseng
  • ginsenosides
  • ginseng saponins
  • pharmacological effects
  • chemical components

Further reading

Search

Quick links