Effects of Panax ginseng on tumor necrosis factor-α-mediated inflammation: a mini-review

Molecules. 2011 Mar 30;16(4):2802-16. doi: 10.3390/molecules16042802.


Panax ginseng is one of the most commonly used Chinese medicines in China, Asia and Western countries. The beneficial effects of ginseng have been attributed to the biological activities of its constituents, the ginsenosides. In this review, we summarize recent publications on the anti-inflammatory effects of ginseng extracts and ginsenosides on cellular responses triggered by different inducers including endotoxin, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interferon-gamma and other stimuli. Proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules and mediators of inflammation including inducible nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase-2 and nitric oxide orchestrate the inflammatory response. Ginseng extracts and ginsenosides including Rb₁, Rd, Rg₁, Rg₃, Rh₁, Rh₂, Rh₃ and Rp₁ have been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties in different studies related to inflammation. Ginsenosides inhibit different inducers-activated signaling protein kinases and transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB leading to decreases in the production of cytokines and mediators of inflammation. The therapeutic potential of ginseng on TNF-α-mediated inflammatory diseases is also discussed. Taken together, this summary provides evidences for the anti-inflammatory effects of ginseng extracts and ginsenosides as well as the underlying mechanisms of their effects on inflammatory diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Mice
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha