Ginseng effectively regulates the immune response and the hormonal changes due to stress, thus maintaining homeostasis. In addition to suppressing the occurrence of psychological diseases such as anxiety and depression, ginseng also prevents stress-associated physiological diseases. Recent findings have revealed that ginseng is involved in adjusting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and controlling hormones, thus producing beneficial effects on the heart and brain, and in cases of bone diseases, as well as alleviating erectile dysfunction. Recent studies have highlighted the potential use of ginseng in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergic asthma. However, the mechanism underlying the effects of ginseng on these stress-related diseases has not been completely established. In this review, we focus on the disease pathways caused by stress in order to determine how ginseng acts to improve health. Central to our discussion is how this effective and stable therapeutic agent alleviates the anxiety and depression caused by stress and ameliorates inflammatory diseases.
Keywords: anxiety; depression; ginseng; hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis; stress.