Rare ginsenosides are such powerful herbal extracts that can benefit cancer patients at a different stage from many ways. They are able to relieve the situation of being fatigued or sleepless, which are common symptoms for the advanced cancer patients who suffer from the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. They have the ability to slow tumor cell growth and inhibit tumor cell angiogenesis, which prevents cancer patients at an early stage from suffering a rapid metastasis of cancer cells. They also enable cancer patients to release from the suppression of appetite, resulting from either the chemotherapy and radiotherapy received by advanced cancer patients or the psychological unacceptance from early-stage cancer patients.
There is consistent research showing the ability of rare ginsneosides in anti-cancer activity. The study published during 1968 and 1984 shows that Rh2 inhibits liver cancer proliferation, followed by the research, which shows anti-tumor effects of Rh2 when combined with chemotherapy drugs. The published study in 1993 reveals further that rare ginsenoside Rh2 inhibits human ovarian cancer cell proliferation. Although monomer Rh2 seems to be the earliest discovered and now widely recognized anti-cancer substance in rare ginsenosides family, there are still other members that are discovered to have great properties in anti-cancer activities. Research shows that an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells can be exerted by Rg1, Rg3 and Rh1 respectively. Rg3 and Rh2 are reported to have an apoptotic effect on cancer cells separately. Both Rb1 and Rb2 are found to have weakly anti-proliferation and anti-angiogenic effects in anti-cancer activity. Many other rare ginsenoside monomers are discovered and researched for their anti-cancer properties.
Rare ginsenosides are extracted from herbs, while the modern research on herbal application is totally different from the ancient time. Herbs are historically used in their original form and many types of herbs are shredded or boiled together without an adequate knowledge of the exact constituents that work directly on the diseases. However, it is undeniable that herbs do work on disease in the base of herbal practice in many Asian countries for a long historical journey. Since the Japanese chemist initiated the study on ginsenosides, their merits have gradually drawn attention from all over the world. The research on rare ginsenosides has been conducted by many scientists from countries such as Japan, Korea, Canada, China, etc. many of which have a long history of herbal medication. With the development of science and technology, scientists are able to extract the most effective ingredients that work directly on a certain disease. Rare ginsenosides are exactly such effective constituents that are extracted to exert strong effects on tumor and cancer.
Herbal effects on cancer-fighting activity still remain controversial partially because some herbal products are adulterated with unclear composition instead of the purified concentration of effective herbal ingredients. Although the preparation and utilization of herbal materials tend to be modernized, there are still herbal medicines or supplements on the present market, which are not the concentrations of effective herbal ingredients but the compressed form of the whole herbs. The rough compression of original herbs has difficulties in reaching a qualified amount so that it can take effect. There is no doubt that they fail to exert an expected effect on certain disease while their preparation methodology may meet the requirements of modern production. Partially due to the disadvantage of the preparation, rare ginsenoside supplements face great challenges when it comes to the acceptance by people from countries without the history of herbal application.
Ginsenosides research transformed from the basic science to application and corporations take high responsibility for the development of rare ginsenosides products of high quality. Supplements containing various rare ginsenosides like Rh2, Rg3, Rk2, Rh3 and aPPD are available on the market and it is claimed that the concentration of highly active ingredients reaches 14 % of the total ginsenosides.
Rare ginsenosides can be a promising anticancer agent, and there is still a long way to go.