Immunomodulatory activity of red ginseng against influenza A virus infection

Nutrients. 2014 Jan 27;6(2):517-29. doi: 10.3390/nu6020517.


Ginseng herbal medicine has been known to have beneficial effects on improving human health. We investigated whether red ginseng extract (RGE) has preventive effects on influenza A virus infection in vivo and in vitro. RGE was found to improve survival of human lung epithelial cells upon influenza virus infection. Also, RGE treatment reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory genes (IL-6, IL-8) probably in part through interference with the formation of reactive oxygen species by influenza A virus infection. Long-term oral administration of mice with RGE showed multiple immunomodulatory effects such as stimulating antiviral cytokine IFN-γ production after influenza A virus infection. In addition, RGE administration in mice inhibited the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the bronchial lumens. Therefore, RGE might have the potential beneficial effects on preventing influenza A virus infections via its multiple immunomodulatory functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Cell Line
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Influenza A virus / drug effects*
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / drug therapy*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia / virology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species