Cancer is one of the most common causes of human death and there are more than 100 types of cancer discovered. Cancer is formed as the cells grow and divide uncontrollably. Different from normal cells that have a lifespan under which they grow, divide and die regularly, cancerous cells won’t die. Most dangerously, cancerous cells are able to invade other parts of the body and destroy healthy tissues. When abnormal cell moves out of the original spot and spreads to a new spot, making new blood vessels to feed themselves, cancer is successfully metastasized.
Cancer at different stage is usually treated with different methods. An early-stage cancer may have a good success rate with the treatment of surgery. An advanced cancer is often treated with radiotherapy, chemotherapy or the combination of the two. Even when a surgery is done, radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be used if cancer cells are believed to be left inside body. Both chemotherapy and radiotherapy may have the side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach. Chemotherapy may also cause hair loss and fatigue. As for women, those therapies may lead to disrupted menstrual and even early menopause.
Cancer is so dangerous to human life that the research on its treatment never stops. The research on the value of herbs has been a long history and the application of herbs as medication has benefited many generations. As research proceeds, many herbs have been found to be of great potential for cancer treatment. Rare ginsenosides are found to have great properties in anti-cancer activity in the base of an extensive research on herbs. They have proved able to slow tumor cell growth and kill cancer cells.
What Are Rare Ginsenosides?
The concept of ginsenosides should be demonstrated first in order to gain a better understanding of rare ginsenosides. Ginsenosides are compounds that exist in Araliaceae ginseng plants such as Panax ginseng and American ginseng. These active compounds have proved to be pharmaceutically effective after an extensive research on Araliaceae plants by many countries such as Japan, Canada, Korean and Taiwan. The research on the pharmaceutical properties of ginsenosides mainly results from the long medicinal history of ginseng as a traditional method to treat disease. It has been found that ginsenosides exhibit subtle biological effects when studied in isolation since ginsenosides are a class of triterpene saponins contained in ginseng plants. Ginsenosides can be extracted from many parts of ginseng plants, typically from the root.
Dozens of rare ginsenosides have been found at present. Rare ginsenosides refer to molecule monomer such as Rk2, Rg3 (S, R), Rh2 (S, R), Rg5, Rk1, Rk3, Rh1 (S, R), Rh3, Rh4, APPT(S, R), APPD (S, R) etc. These are highly active triterpene compounds and is generated through gastrointestinal metabolism of ginsenosides. That is to say, although Araliaceae ginseng as food is delivered into the body, rare ginsnosides compounds won’t be obtained by the body before ginsenosides ingredients are metabolized by intestines. Since rare ginsenosides can only be obtained through bodily metabolism, the key to the absorption of rare ginsenosides is the condition of digestive system.
The Elementary Benefits of Rare Ginsenosides
Rare ginsenosides modulate blood pressure, immune system and neural function. Since rare ginsenosides are highly nutritional constituents that play an essential role in the remedy function of ginseng, they have the ability to affect the body in a positive way as ginseng does. It is found that rare ginsenosides are able to promote blood circulation and thus prevent cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Rare ginsenosides are also found to be able to recover immune system rapidly by the delivery of highly absorbable nutrients to the body, contributing to clear mind, muscle relaxation and deep sleep. Study shows that rare ginsenosides help improve cognitive function, recover memory, keep calm and promote physical performance. In addition, research outcome from experiments on animal models suggests that rare ginsenosides as bioactive ingredients are neuroprotective and may be able to treat neural disease and prevent neural degradation.
The Anti-Cancer Effects of Rare Ginsenosides
It has been found that rare ginsenosides have great properties in anti-cancer activity as they are highly bioactive constituents. These bioactivities don’t exist in ginsenosides naturally but require a biotransformation of ginsenosides.
Rare ginsenosides are suggested to be able to increase the internal antioxidant enzymes and remove free-radical which is known as a cancer promoter by depriving cells of essential substance. Research reveals that rare ginsenosides have the ability to assist in the treatment and recovery of tumor. There are two types of tumor: benign and malignant. A malignant tumor is actually a cancer. Compared to a benign tumor, there is little possibility for a malignant tumor to be cured.
Rare ginsenosides have been shown to be able to fight cancer such as lung cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, osteosarcoma, etc. For example, Rare ginsenosides Rg5 is found to be genotoxic and cytotoxic in human cervical cancer cells. Steamed extracts of Panax notoginseng proved to have an anti-proliferative effect on liver cancer cells. Research shows that rare ginsenosides Rg3 induces DNA damage in human osteosarcoma cells and protect normal cells. Evidence on the anti-cancer properties of rare ginsenosides has been presented as extensive research have been conducted to explore their mystery. In general, rare ginsenosides are mainly found to inhibit tumor cell proliferation, prevent tumor cell metastasis, induce cancer cell apoptosis and adverse cell resistance to drugs.
Although rare ginsenosides have been shown to have anti-cancer properties, research also suggests that biochemically stabilized rare ginsenosides should be obtained on a large quantity by specific methods in order to exert physiological effects. In other words, specific technologies are required to transform ginsenosides into rare ginsenosides of high bioactivities on a large scale so that a large amount of these active compounds can be extracted to physiologically affect human.