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Ginseng Use in Medicine: Perspectives on CNS Disorders

Author(s): Khaled Radad | Gabriele Gille | Wolf-Dieter Rausch

Journal: Iranian Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
ISSN 1735-2657

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 30;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: Ginseng | Ginsenosides | CNS | Medicine | Chinese herbs

Ginseng, the root of Panax species, is a well-known folk medicine. It has been used as traditional herbal medicine in China, Korea and Japan for thousands of years and today is a popular and worldwide used natural medicine. The active ingredients of ginseng are ginsenosides which are also called ginseng saponins. Recently, there is increasing evidence in the literature on the pharmacological and physiological actions of ginseng. Ginseng had been used primarily as a tonic to invigorate week bodies and help the restoration of homeostasis. However current in vivo and in vitro studies have shown its beneficial effects in a wide range of pathological conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, immune deficiency and hepatotoxicity. Moreover, recent research has suggested that some of ginsengs active ingredients also exert beneficial actions on aging, CNS disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. In general, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and immunostimulant activities are mostly underlying the possible ginseng-mediated protective mechanisms. Next to animal studies, data from neural cell cultures contribute to the understanding of these mechanisms which involve decreasing nitric oxide (NO), scavenging of free radicals and counteracting excitotoxicity. In this review we focus on recently reported medicinal effects of ginseng and summarize the current knowledge of its effects on CNS disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.
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