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Phytochemistry. 2004 Feb;65(3):337-44.

Generation of ginsenosides Rg3 and Rh2 from North American ginseng.

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  • 1Food, Nutrition and Health, Faculty of Agricultural Science, University of British Columbia, 6650 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4.


Rg3 and Rh2 ginsenosides are primarily found in Korean red ginseng root (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) and valued for their bioactive properties. We quantified both Rh2 and Rg3 ginseng leaf and Rg3 from root extracts derived from North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). Quantification was obtained by application of HPLC with ion fragments detected using ESI-MS. Ginseng leaf contained 11.3+/-0.5 mg/g Rh2 and 7.5+/-0.9 mg/g Rg3 in concentrated extracts compared to 10.6+/-0.4 mg/g Rg3 in ginseng root. No detectable Rh2 was found in root extracts by HPLC, although it was detectable by ESI-MS analysis. Ginsenosides Rg3 and Rh2 were detected following hot water reflux extraction, but not from tissues extracted with 80% aqueous ethanol at room temperature. Therefore ginsenosides Rg3 and Rh2 are not naturally present in North American ginseng, but are products of a thermal process. Using ESI-MS analysis, it was found that formation of Rg3 and Rh2, among other compounds, were a function of heating time and were breakdown products of the more abundant ginsenosides Rb1 and Rc. Our findings that heat processed North American ginseng leaf is an excellent source of Rh2 ginsenoside is an important discovery considering that ginseng leaf material is obtainable throughout the entire plant cycle for recovery of valuable ginsenosides for pharmaceutical use.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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