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Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2006;66(4):369-75.

Neuroprotective effects of ginsenosides.

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Institute for Medical Chemistry, Veterinary Medical University, Veterindirplatz, 1 A-1210 Vienna, Austria.


Ginseng, the root of the Panax species, is a well-known herbal medicine. Traditionally it has been used in Korea, China and Japan for thousands of years. Nowadays it has become a popular and worldwide known health drug. Current scientific studies demonstrate in vivo and in vitro its beneficial effects in a wide range of pathological conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, immune deficiency and hepatotoxicity. Ginsenosides or ginseng saponins as the active ingredients have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and immunostimulant properties, which raised speculations that these compounds could positively affect neurodegenerative disorders and delay neuronal aging. Conclusive clinical data in humans are still missing. However, results from animal studies and neuronal cell culture experiments indicate that ginsenosides can counteract and attenuate factors promoting neuronal death as environmental toxins, excitotoxic action of glutamate and rises in intracellular calcium, excessive release of free radicals and apoptotic events. Thus, neuroprotective actions of ginsenosides could come about as a valuable option to slow down neurodegenerative diseases.

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