Melanoma is one of the skin cancers that starts in the melanocytes and melanoma cells are usually brown or black. It comprises 1% of skin cancers but causes a high mortality rate. The incidence of melanoma has increased steadily for the past 30 years.
Ginseng is a popular medicinal herb that has been used to treat various ailments over two thousand years in East Asian. Ginsenosides are active ingredients in ginseng and hundreds of ginsenosides have been isolated and identified, including Rg3, Rh2, Rb1, Rg1, Rk1, Rk2, Rh3, aPPD, aPPT, etc.
Recent medical research has shown that ginsenoside Rg3, a ginseng saponin extracted from ginseng roots, could inhibit proliferation and metastasis of melanoma tumor cells. In a recent animal study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, ginsenoside Rg3 shrank the size of the tumor, reduced lung metastasis, inhibited tumor cell proliferation, suppressed tumor-induced neovascularization in advanced melanoma tumor cells.
Another study published in the journal Melanoma Research also found the antitumor effect of ginsenoside Rg3 in B16 melanoma cells. In the experiment, B16 melanoma-bearing mice given with Rg3 showed significant inhibition of tumor metastasis and longer survival time.
Unfortunately, no human trials on melanoma and ginsenoside Rg3 have been done. Researchers noted that they were performing a clinical trial to test its efficacy to treat advanced melanoma in the study.
Ginsenoside Rg3 is the best-known one among a range of identified ginsenosides. It has shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and anticancer activities. Ginsenoside Rg3 may work against tumor by inhibiting tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis, attenuating the invasion and metastasis of tumor cells and inhibiting multidrug resistance.
As an active ingredient in ginseng, ginsenoside Rg3 can be used to enhance health and wellness. It helps enhance physical capacity/performance, increase energy and resistance to stress and mental fatigue. Also, it can be used to promote healthy glucose levels and improve cognition.
Generally, it is safe to take ginsenoside Rg3. Sometimes it can have side effects among some groups and interfere with some prescription drugs. People who are taking antidepressant medication, blood thinners or digoxin shall avoid ginsenoside consumption.