Ginseng is a popular medicinal herb with diverse pharmacological effects, and it can do good to our body in multiple aspects and on different levels.
The well-documented roles of ginseng cover supportive functions in the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and cancer prevention, which are largely based on what ginseng beneficially works on the immunity system, the first-line of defense against illness and microbial attacks.
Known as an immune modulator, ginseng can regulate a huge number of immune cells including macrophages, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, T cells, and B cells to keep the stability and balance of the immune system. It is often regarded as a promising therapeutic agent to treat some autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease.
A recent study published in the Journal of Ginseng Research shows that Korean red ginseng, a processed panax ginseng with higher ginsenoside content, helped boost the immune system of healthy people.
The participants who took 2 grams of Korean red ginseng per day showed a significant increase in the number of T cells, B cells, and the white blood cells count after eight weeks. Meanwhile, no significant adverse reactions were observed in the experiments for safety evaluation.
It should be noted that the active substances that contribute to the immune-enhancing effects of ginseng are called ginsenosides, and they are the major pharmacologically active compounds in ginseng.
The naturally occurring ginsenosides (Ra, Rb1, Rb2, Rb3, Rc, Rd, Re, Rg1, Rg2, Rf, etc.) in ginseng are large-molecular-weight compounds with poor water solubility. They must be transformed into metabolized rare ginsenosides to achieve good absorption. For example, prototype ginsenosides such as Rb1, Rb2, and Rd can be converted into rare ginsenoside Rg3, a well-known rare ginsenoside with remarkable bioactivity.
Notably, ginsenoside Rg3 can be further metabolized into super bioactive ginsenosides Rk1 and Rg5. The Korean red ginseng that is prepared through steaming and drying processing are high-quality and contains a fair amount of Rg3 and Rg5.
Cancer patients are a group of people that often suffer from weakness and fatigue, and they need immune boosters to support their treatment. Ginseng and ginsenosides also show potential in boosting immunomodulation among cancer patients, and can be a good choice for them.
A Korean research team found that red ginseng powder showed immunomodulatory activities in patients with advanced gastric cancer during postoperative chemotherapy. A five-year disease-free survival and overall survival rate that was significantly higher in patients taking the red ginseng powder during postoperative chemotherapy, compared to the control group.
In addition to immune enhancement, ginseng and ginsenosides have also been found to reduce cancer-related fatigue.
Knowing that ginseng and ginsenosides have brilliant health benefits, you might hope to find a supplement to boost your immunity and overall health. The best ginseng supplements shall be ones with a high percentage of rare ginsenosides.
A rare ginsenoside brand is prominent on Amazon and it features sixteen highly bioactive and absorbable rare ginsenosides. The content of the super potent rare ginsenosides including Rg3, Rh2, Rk1,aPPD, etc. reaches 20%, much higher than its counterparts.
Hyun, Sun & Ahn, Ha-Young & Kim, Hyeong-Jun & Kim, Sung & So, Seung-Ho & In, Gyo & Park, Chae-Kyu & Han, Chang-Kyun. (2020). Immuno-enhancement effects of Korean Red Ginseng in healthy adults: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Ginseng Research. 45. 10.1016/j.jgr.2020.08.003.
Suh, Sung & Kroh, Matthew & Kim, Nam & Joh, Yong & Cho, Min. (2002). Effects of Red Ginseng Upon Postoperative Immunity and Survival in Patients with Stage III Gastric Cancer. The American journal of Chinese medicine. 30. 483-94. 10.1142/S0192415X02000661.