Ginseng saponins and the treatment of osteoporosis: mini literature review

J Ginseng Res. 2013 Jul;37(3):261-8. doi: 10.5142/jgr.2013.37.261.


The ginseng plant (Panax ginseng Meyer) has a large number of active ingredients including steroidal saponins with a dammarane skeleton as well as protopanaxadiol and protopanaxatriol, commonly known as ginsenosides, which have antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-adipocyte, and sexual enhancing effects. Though several discoveries have demonstrated that ginseng saponins (ginsenosides) as the most important therapeutic agent for the treatment of osteoporosis, yet the molecular mechanism of its active metabolites is unknown. In this review, we summarize the evidence supporting the therapeutic properties of ginsenosides both in vivo and in vitro, with an emphasis on the different molecular agents comprising receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand, receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B, and matrix metallopeptidase-9, as well as the bone morphogenetic protein-2 and Smad signaling pathways.

Keywords: Bone morphogenetic protein-2; Ginsenosides; Osteoporosis; Panax ginseng; Receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand.

Publication types

  • Review