(Natural News) Korean researchers studied the anti-inflammatory properties of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, commonly known as Korean red ginseng, as a potential treatment for inflammatory symptoms of arthritis, gastritis, and hepatitis. They focused on ginsenoside, one of its major active ingredients, which exhibited anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. Their findings were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.
Korean red ginseng (KRG), prepared from P. ginseng C.A. Meyer (Araliaceae), is an herbal medicine used worldwide. The researchers aimed to identify the inhibitory saponins in KRG to evaluate their efficacy in vivo, and to understand the mechanisms that suppress inflammatory processes.
To do this, the researchers employed in vitro lipopolysaccharide-treated macrophages and in vivo inflammatory mouse conditions, such as collagen (type II)-induced arthritis (CIA), EtOH/HCl-induced gastritis, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)/D-galactosamine (D-GalN)-triggered hepatitis. They also verified molecular mechanisms by real-time PCR, immunoblotting analysis, and reporter gene assays.
The researchers found that ginsenoside Rc (G-Rc) exhibited the highest inhibitory activity against the expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1beta, and interferons (IFNs).
G-Rc also attenuated inflammatory symptoms in CIA, EtOH/HCl-mediated gastritis, and LPS/D-galactosamine (D-GalN)-triggered hepatitis without altering toxicological parameters, and without inducing gastric irritation.
These anti-inflammatory activities were accompanied by the suppression of TNF-alpha and IL-6 production and the induction of anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in mice with CIA. G-Rc also lessened the levels of luciferase activity by IRF-3 and AP-1, but not NF-kappaB. Furthermore, G-Rc reduced TBK1, IRF-3, and ATF2 phosphorylation in the joint and liver tissues of mice with hepatitis.
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Based on these results, the researchers concluded that G-Rc may be a significant anti-inflammatory component of KRG due to its suppression of IRF-3 and AP-1 pathways. This study could give further insight into the mechanisms by which plant compounds inhibit inflammatory processes.
Ginseng is among the most popular and sought-after herbal medicines out there. Among the several varieties of these slow-growing plants with fleshy roots, American ginseng (P. quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (P. ginseng) are extensively used in traditional medicine — known to boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation, treat diabetes, and manage sexual dysfunction in men.
Ginseng’s two active ingredients, ginsenosides and gintonin, complement each other to provide these medicinal benefits.