Ginseng and Salviae Herbs Play a Role as Immune Activators and Modulate Immune Responses During Influenza Virus Infection

Vaccine. 2007 Jan 4;25(2):272-82. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2006.07.041. Epub 2006 Aug 10.


We have investigated the adjuvant roles of common herbal medicines (ginseng, Salviae) and their effects on early immune responses during influenza virus infection in a mouse model. Intranasal co-administration with inactivated influenza virus A (PR8) and ginseng or Salviae extract increased the levels of influenza virus specific antibodies and neutralizing activities compared to immunization with PR8 alone, and provided protective immunity. Salviae co-administration significantly enhanced IFN-gamma and IL-2 cytokine producing splenocytes while ginseng induced high levels of IL-4 and IL-5 cytokine producing cells after challenge infection. Cells expressing an early activation marker CD69 and levels of a pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 were highly elevated in lungs from naïve mice during challenge virus infection, which might be a mechanism in lung inflammation leading to death. In contrast, immunized mice that were co-administered ginseng or Salviae modulated CD69 expressing immune cells, did not produce IL-6, and showed significant enhancement of influenza virus specific IgA antibody in lungs after challenge virus infection. Therefore, these results indicate that both ginseng and Salviae play a role as mucosal adjuvants against influenza virus as well as immuno-modulators during influenza virus infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / analysis
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin A / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Influenza A virus / immunology*
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Panax*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Salvia*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Viral
  • CD69 antigen
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Plant Extracts