Scientists have identified immunologically active components in ginseng, an herb used in traditional Chinese and other Asian medicine.
Allan Lau led a team of researchers from the University of Hong Kong who identified seven ginseng constituents, ginsenosides, which showed immune-suppressive effects. He said, “The anti-inflammatory role of ginseng may be due to the combined effects of these ginsenosides, targeting different levels of immunological activity, and so contributing to the diverse actions of ginseng in humans”.
The scientists treated human immune cells with different extracts of ginseng. They found that of the nine ginsenosides they identified, seven could selectively inhibit expression of the inflammatory gene CXCL-10. Lau concludes, “Further studies will be needed to examine the potential beneficial effects of ginsenosides in the management of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases in humans”.