The research, funded by the Program of Shanghai Committee of Science and Technology, studied the protective effect of ginsenoside for a number of neuro diseases, including stroke, depression, and the Alzheimer’s disease.
Through the review, they pointed out that ginsenoside and its derivatives – including ginseng polysaccharides, volatile oil, and peptides – are “potential stocks” as active agents in the prevention and treatment of brain diseases.
Citing a year 2015 study on stroke patients, the researchers found that ginsenosides could reduce the symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage.
In the study, the stroke patients were selected using a randomisation method based on China’s National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score and randomised into two treatment groups.
They then simultaneously received a placebo or ginsenosides at a dose of 1 mg/kg−1 (maximum 100 mg) with 10% recombinant tissue plasminogen activator as a bolus, followed by the remaining 90% as a constant infusion for 60 minutes.
The researchers found that this method had improved the treatment outcome of stroke patients, and said that the study “supported the clinical use of ginsenosides as a potential supplement with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator treatment.”
Other studies have found that oral ginseng extract could alleviate menopausal depression.
In 2015, a South Korean research involving 35 outpatients aged 18 to 65 were given red ginseng. Their depressive symptoms were then assessed via the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Scale and Depression Symptom Scale.
It was observed that the severity of depression had significantly improved, which shows that Korean red ginseng could effectively change the residual symptoms of patients with depression.
So far, more than 180 species of ginsenosides have been identified.
However, there is an issue of low bioavailability of the active ingredients.
For example, Rg1 – an active molecular in ginseng – which plays a role in the treatment of AD, has a low rate of bioavailability at 1% to 20%, as it is easily degraded by the intestinal bacteria after oral administration.
The review found that changing the dosage method from oral to nasal administration can help address the issue.
The researchers cited a 2011 mouse study published in the Chinese Journal of Experimental Traditional Medical Formulae, which found that nasal administration of oral Rg 1 saline solution, could increase the distribution and transport efficiency of Rg 1 by 5.05 and 2.50 times.
From another 2010 study published in the Journal of Guangdong College of Pharmacy, the researchers also pointed out that Rg 1 could permeate the skin, which could open the way for more types of Rg1 administration methods.
Ginseng is one of the traditional herbal ingredients popular with East Asia, including China, Korea, and Japan.
The researchers noted that in China, the domestic dosage of Chinese patented medicines containing ginsenoside is huge, with some coming in oral dosage and others in the form of injections.
However, they pointed out that there is a lack of research integration and marketing efforts.
“Clinical practice in China is prosperous, but there is a lack of systematic research integration and reassessments of post-marketing efficacy, and especially a lack of senior clinical research.
“Future researchers should conduct research integration and re-evaluations of post-marketing efficiency, particularly to provide high-level theoretical studies of clinical research and thoroughly elucidate cellular and molecular mechanisms and provide a number of signal transduction pathways to reveal the mystery of ginsenosides,” the researchers said.
Neuroprotective Effects of Ginseng Phytochemicals: Recent Perspectives
Authors: Xing Huang, et al