Steamed American ginseng berry: ginsenoside analyses and anticancer activities

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Dec 27;54(26):9936-42. doi: 10.1021/jf062467k.


This study was designed to determine the changes in saponin content in American ginseng berries after treatment by heating and to assess the anticancer effects of the extracts. After steaming treatment (100-120 degrees C for 1 h, and 120 degrees C for 0.5-4 h), the content of seven ginsenosides, Rg1, Re, Rb1, Rc, Rb2, Rb3, and Rd, decreased; the content of five ginsenosides, Rh1, Rg2, 20R-Rg2, Rg3, and Rh2, increased. Rg3, a previously identified anticancer ginsenoside, increased significantly. Two hours of steaming at 120 degrees C increased the content of ginsenoside Rg3 to a greater degree than other tested ginsenosides. When human colorectal cancer cells were treated with 0.5 mg/mL steamed berry extract (120 degrees C 2 h), the antiproliferation effects were 97.8% for HCT-116 and 99.6% for SW-480 cells. At the same treatment concentration, the effects of unsteamed berry extract were 34.1% for HCT-116 and 4.9% for SW-480 cells. After staining with Hoechst 33258, apoptotic cells increased significantly by treatment with steamed berry extract compared with unheated extracts. Induction of apoptosis activity was confirmed by flow cytometry after staining with annexin V/PI. The steaming of American ginseng berries augments ginsenoside Rg3 content and increases the antiproliferative effects on two human colorectal cancer cell lines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Ginsenosides / analysis*
  • Ginsenosides / pharmacology*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Panax / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Ginsenosides