Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world. Ginseng has traditionally been used for a variety of of medical conditions from heart disease, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, hepatitis C, high blood pressure, menopausal symptoms, to cancer.
Modern laboratory studies have suggested that that ginseng may boost the immune system. For example, there are evidences showing that American ginseng extract decreases the number and severity of colds in adults. Additional human trials have shown that ginseng may lower blood sugar levels, improve mood and boost concentration and learning.
In recent years, ginseng has been used expensively in sports supplements for increasing endurance and boosting performance. In addition, it is believed that Ginseng may facilitate the post-exercise recovery from a strenuous workout session. A study from the University of Hong Kong seems to support the claim. A group of researchers from UHK reported that Ginseng has anti-inflammatory effects.
The team of researchers first identified nine ginseng constituents, ginsenosides, from the herb extract. Then, the scientists treated human immune cells with different extracts of ginseng. They found that among the nine ginsenosides, seven could selectively inhibit expression of the inflammatory gene CXCL-10. The researchers concluded that the anti-inflammatory role of ginseng may be due to the combined effects of these ginsenosides, targeting different levels of immunological activity, and contributing to the diverse actions of ginseng in humans.
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Journal Reference: Davy CW Lee, Cindy LH Yang, Stanley CC Chik, James CB Li, Jian-hui Rong, Godfrey CF Chan and Allan SY Lau. Bioactivity-guided identification and cell signaling technology to delineate the immunomodulatory effects of Panax ginseng on human promonocytic U937 cells. Journal of Translational Medicine, 2009 7:34 DOI: 10.1186/1479-5876-7-34
Source: Informed Nutrition
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