Ginseng, the root of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, has been reported to exert preventive effects on gastropathy via anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory actions. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of ginseng against ethanol-induced gastric damages in rat. To examine the preventive effect of ginseng, rats received two different ginseng extracts, A and B, 1 h prior to the administration of ethanol. Pretreatment of rats with ginseng extract A and B attenuated the ethanol-induced gastric lesions by 111 +/- 48 and 142 +/- 47 mm(2) compared to control group (164 +/- 54 mm(2)). Significant induction of cytoprotective heat-shock proteins HSP27 and HSP70 was found in the ginseng-administrated rats, suggesting that the restoration of the proteins might contribute to prevention of ethanol-induced gastric injuries. It is, therefore, suggested that ginseng has a protective effect against ethanol-induced gastric damages by induction of heat-shock proteins 70 and 27.