Ginseng, the 'Immunity Boost': The Effects of Panax ginseng on Immune System

J Ginseng Res. 2012 Oct;36(4):354-68. doi: 10.5142/jgr.2012.36.4.354.


Thousands of literatures have described the diverse role of ginseng in physiological processes such as cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, insulin resistance, and hypertension. In particular, ginseng has been extensively reported to maintain homeostasis of the immune system and to enhance resistance to illness or microbial attacks through the regulation of immune system. Immune system comprises of different types of cells fulfilling their own specialized functions, and each type of the immune cells is differentially influenced and may be simultaneously controlled by ginseng treatment. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the effects of ginseng on immune system. We discuss how ginseng regulates each type of immune cells including macrophages, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, T cells, and B cells. We also describe how ginseng exhibits beneficial effects on controlling inflammatory diseases and microbial infections.

Keywords: Acquired immunity; Cytokine; Immunomodulation; Innate immunity; Panax ginseng.