Mechanisms of Panax ginseng action as an antidepressant

Cell Prolif. 2019 Nov;52(6):e12696. doi: 10.1111/cpr.12696. Epub 2019 Oct 10.


Objectives: Panax ginseng, a well-known traditional Chinese medicine with multiple pharmacological activities, plays a crucial role in modulating mood disorders. Several recent studies have identified an underlying role of Panax ginseng in the prevention and treatment of depression. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms remain unclear.

Materials and methods: In this review, we summarized the recent progress of antidepressant effects and underlying mechanisms of Panax ginseng and its representative herbal formulae.

Results: The molecular and cellular mechanisms of Panax ginseng and its herbal formulae include modulating monoamine neurotransmitter system, upregulating the expression of neurotrophic factors, regulating the function of HPA axis, and anti-inflammatory action.

Conclusions: Therefore, this review may provide theoretical bases and clinical applications for the treatment of depression by Panax ginseng and its representative herbal formulae.

Keywords: Panax ginseng; active ingredients; antidepressant mechanism; depression; neuron.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects*
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Panax* / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Plant Extracts