Home Ginseng & Ginsenosides Ginsenoside Rk2 exhibits higher potency in anti-cancer activity than Rh2 and Rg3

Ginsenoside Rk2 exhibits higher potency in anti-cancer activity than Rh2 and Rg3


Ginsenosides are tetracyclic triterpenes saponins that are transformed and extracted from Araliaceae plants like American ginseng, Ginseng and Panax ginseng. Since scientists discovered in the 1960s that ginsenosides have great properties in anti-cancer activity, ginsenosides become a heated area of the research on the natural remedy for fighting cancer.

Ginsenosides are converted into rare ginsenosides through metabolism and transformation

Scientists found in the study that the secondary derivatives of ginsenosides through transformation are more potent in anti-cancer bioactivity. These secondary derivatives are called rare ginsenosides. These directly obtained extractions from Araliaceae plants are called prototype ginsenosides.

Rare ginsenosides draw worldwide attention due to its higher potency in anti-cancer activity. Over half a century of research, scientists discovered more than 60 rare ginsenosides including Rk2, Rg3, Rh2, Rg5, Rk1, Rk3, Rh1, Rh3, Rh4, aPPT, aPPD, etc.

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Ginsenosides go beyond Rh2 and Rg3

As there is a gap between rare ginsenosides research and their application, people gain different recognition. Rh2 and Rg3 are currently applied to the area of fighting cancer and gain a larger foundation of the audience. When it comes to rare ginsenosides, people may connect them to Rh2 and Rg3 only. In fact, there are many other rare ginsenosides with higher potency in anti-cancer activity.

In the test of cell in vitro, scientists found that rare ginsenoside Rk2 exhibits higher potency in anti-cancer activity than many other rare ginsenosides including Rh1, Rg3, Rg5, Rh2 but shows almost equal potency to Rh3, which has extremely similar molecular structure and effects to Rh3.

Rare ginsenoside Rk2 exhibits the strongest inhibitory effects on colorectal cancer cell among the samples. Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor in digestive system with an increased morbidity. The study shows that rare ginsenoside Rk2 strongly inhibits colorectal cancer cell proliferation. The inhibitory effects become more obvious in the combination use with Rh3. Thus, Rare ginsenoside Rk2 shows great potentials of the application to clinical treatment as an adjuvant therapy.

Multiple rare ginsenosides act together to exert synergistic effects

The test found that the combination of Rk2 and Rh3 exhibits stronger anti-cancer activity than monomer Rk2, and monomer Rg5 shows weaker anti-cancer activity than the mixture of Rg5 and Rk1, with the same dosage. Scientists draw a conclusion that multiple rare ginsenosides acting together will exert synergistic effects on tumor cells.

Scientists discovered that different rare ginsenosides benefit human life in different ways. For example, some rare ginsenosides exert much stronger inhibitory effects on lung cancer, some are more sensitive to liver cancer. Some increase the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs, some reduce toxic side effects of chemotherapy. Compared to the combination of multiple rare ginsenosides, single rare ginsenoside shows limited efficacy. A combination of multiple rare ginsenosides will inhibit tumor cell proliferation to an amazing degree by acting together synergistically.


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