Immunomodulatory effects of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer in the mouse

Agents Actions. 1984 Oct;15(3-4):386-91. doi: 10.1007/BF01972376.


An aqueous extract of Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer (G.S.) was prepared by boiling crushed G.S. roots in water. The extract obtained was adjusted to 125 mg G.S. per ml and was administered orally to mice for 5 to 6 days at the daily dose of 10, 50 and 250 mg G.S. per kg or was added to cultures of mouse spleen cells at concentrations varying between 0.25 and 8 mg G.S. per ml. The average total ginsenoside content of the G.S. roots used was determined by HPLC analysis and found to be 0.58% (w/w). Treated mice responded with enhanced antibody formation to either a primary or a secondary challenge with sheep red cells. The effects were dose-dependent. At the highest dose regimen, the primary IgM response was increased by 50% and the secondary IgG and IgM responses were increased by 50 and 100%, respectively. An even more pronounced effect was obtained with natural killer cell activity which was enhanced between 44 and 150% depending on the effector-to-target cell ratios used in the assay. In vitro, G.S. showed two main effects, an inhibition of stimulated and spontaneous lymphocyte proliferation at high, but not cytotoxic concentrations and an enhancement of interferon production particularly in non-stimulated spleen cells. The immunostimulating effects obtained in vivo are in agreement with the stimulation of interferon production observed in vitro. The inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation, however, cannot be reconciled with the immunostimulatory action of G.S. observed in vivo.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Interferons / biosynthesis
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitogens / pharmacology
  • Panax*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects


  • Mitogens
  • Plant Extracts
  • Interferons