Panax ginseng (also known as Korean or Asian ginseng) is an adaptogenic herb with thousands of years of traditional use. Frequently, it is recommended as part of a supplemental regimen for stress relief, daily energy, and libido. But it has a broad spectrum of effects – including fighting against the development and spread of cancer.
There are specific compounds in ginseng, called ginsenosides, which are considered some of the most valuable components of the plant. Some of those ginsenosides are called noble ginsenosides. They are smaller, easier to absorb, more effective, and rare. One of those noble ginsenosides, Rh2, was featured in this latest study.
Researchers found that Rh2 from Panax ginseng was able to stop the invasion of cancer cells, their proliferation and spread, and their resistance to anti-cancer treatment.
Although red ginseng is popular as a supplement, finding ginseng with effective levels of noble ginsenosides can be difficult. Those rare compounds were mostly a hallmark of wild-crafted forms of Panax ginseng that are no longer available. Traditionally steamed to concentrate their compounds and giving the herb its characteristic “red” appearance, commercially available red ginseng products also suffer from the fact that they are often sourced from fields that have seen heavy pesticide and chemical use.
However, innovations in pesticide-free ginseng cultivation combined with traditional steaming practices do allow for a safe red ginseng with a broad spectrum of compounds, including noble ginsenosides like Rh2. Look for a red ginseng that has the safety and health in mind for the best benefits.
Li X, Chu S, Lin M, Gao Y, Liu Y, Yang S, Zhou X, Zhang Y, Hu Y, Wang H, Chen N. Anticancer property of ginsenoside Rh2 from ginseng. Eur J Med Chem. 2020 Oct 1;203:112627.
Ginseng has been used as a well-known traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times. Ginsenosides as its main active constituents possess a broad scope of pharmacological properties including stimulating immune function, enhancing cardiovascular health, increasing resistance to stress, improving memory and learning, developing social functioning and mental health in normal persons, and chemotherapy. Ginsenoside Rh2 (Rh2) is one of the major bioactive ginsenosides from Panax ginseng. When applied to cancer treatment, Rh2 not only exhibits the anti-proliferation, anti-invasion, anti-metastasis, induction of cell cycle arrest, promotion of differentiation, and reversal of multi-drug resistance activities against multiple tumor cells, but also alleviates the side effects after chemotherapy or radiotherapy. In the past decades, nearly 200 studies on Rh2 in the treatment of cancer have been published, however no specific reviews have been conducted by now. So the purpose of this review is to provide a systematic summary and analysis of the anticancer effects and the potential mechanisms of Rh2 extracted from Ginseng then give a future prospects about it. In the end of this paper the metabolism and derivatives of Rh2 also have been documented.
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