Pharmacological potential of ginseng and its major component ginsenosides

J Ginseng Res. 2021 Mar;45(2):199-210. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2020.02.004. Epub 2020 Mar 25.


Ginseng has been used as a traditional herb in Asian countries for thousands of years. It contains a large number of active ingredients including steroidal saponins, protopanaxadiols, and protopanaxatriols, collectively known as ginsenosides. In the last few decades, the antioxidative and anticancer effects of ginseng, in addition to its effects on improving immunity, energy and sexuality, and combating cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and neurological diseases, have been studied in both basic and clinical research. Ginseng could be a valuable resource for future drug development; however, further higher quality evidence is required. Moreover, ginseng may have drug interactions although the available evidence suggests it is a relatively safe product. This article reviews the bioactive compounds, global distribution, and therapeutic potential of plants in the genus Panax.

Keywords: Efficacy; Ginsenosides; Health care; Panax ginseng; Pharmacology.

Publication types

  • Review