Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) root fractions: differential effects on postprandial glycemia in healthy individuals

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Sep 1;137(1):245-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.05.015. Epub 2011 May 17.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Variations in ginsenoside profile may predict the postprandial glucose (PPG)-lowering efficacy of ginseng. Previously we reported differential PPG-lowering effects with two Korean red ginseng (KRG) root. FRACTIONS: body and rootlets, of variable ginsenoside profiles. Whether this effect is reproducible with a different KRG source is unclear. We therefore tested two root fractions from a KRG source with elevated ginsenoside levels to assess its effect on PPG.

Materials and methods: After a 12-h overnight fast, 13 healthy individuals (6M:7F; age=28 ± 10 y; BMI=24.1 ± 3 kg/m2; FBG=4.77 ± 0.04 mmol/L) randomly received either 3g of KRG-body, rootlets or placebo, on three separate visits. Treatments were consumed 60 min prior to a standard test meal with capillary blood samples at -60, 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 min.

Results: The KRGrootlets had>6 fold total ginsensosides than the KRG-body but did not significantly affect PPG. Despite a reduced ginsenoside profile, KRG-body lowered PPG levels at 45, 60, 90 and 120 min during the test (p<0.05), rendering an overall reduction of 27% in incremental area under the glucose curve compared to the control (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Comparing the results with a previously studied batch of KRG suggests a potential therapeutic dose range for ginsenosides. This observation should be clinically verified with acute screening and ginsenoside composition analysis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Area Under Curve
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Ginsenosides / analysis
  • Ginsenosides / isolation & purification
  • Ginsenosides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Ontario
  • Panax* / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots
  • Postprandial Period*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Ginsenosides
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Plant Extracts