Red Ginseng May Help You Breathe Easier
Red ginseng, a form of Panax ginseng that has been steamed following harvest, is a botanical adaptogen that has been in use for thousands of years. While red ginseng is often considered for its stress-relieving and energizing properties, it also has an ability to reinforce the immune system against viruses and other illnesses as well.
This study examined the effects of specific compounds in ginseng, called ginsenosides, on models of lung inflammation and lung fluids. Researchers found that red ginseng reduced inflammatory markers by up to 51 percent.
Some of the ginsenosides tested are a variety called noble ginsenosides. Once more common in wild-crafted ginseng, they are increasingly rare in conventionally grown and processed ginseng due to soil depletion, faster than ideal harvesting, and harsh processing. Therefore, it’s important to seek out supplemental forms that have been grown and processed in such a way that concentrate these vital components of this amazing herb.
Lee JH, Min DS, Lee CW, Song KH, Kim YS, Kim HP. Ginsenosides from Korean Red Ginseng ameliorate lung inflammatory responses: inhibition of the MAPKs/NF-κB/c-Fos pathways. J Ginseng Res. 2018;42(4):476-484.
Background: Korean Red Ginseng (steamed and dried white ginseng, Panax ginseng Meyer) is well known for enhancing vital energy and immune capacity and for inhibiting cancer cell growth. Some clinical studies also demonstrated a therapeutic potential of ginseng extract for treating lung inflammatory disorders. This study was conducted to establish the therapeutic potential of ginseng saponins on the lung inflammatory response.
Methods: From Korean Red Ginseng, 11 ginsenosides (Rb1, Rb2, Rb3, Rc, Rd, Re, Rf, Rg1, Rg2, Rg3, and Rh2) were isolated. Their inhibitory potential and action mechanism were evaluated using a mouse model of lung inflammation, acute lung injury induced by intranasal lipopolysaccharide administration. Their anti-inflammatory activities were also examined in lung epithelial cell line (A549) and alveolar macrophage (MH-S).
Results: All ginsenosides orally administered at 20 mg/kg showed 11.5-51.6% reduction of total cell numbers in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). Among the ginsenosides, Rc, Re, Rg1, and Rh2 exhibited significant inhibitory action by reducing total cell numbers in the BALF by 34.1-51.6% (n = 5). Particularly, Re showed strong and comparable inhibitory potency with that of dexamethasone, as judged by the number of infiltrated cells and histological observations. Re treatment clearly inhibited the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, nuclear factor-κB, and the c-Fos component in the lung tissue (n = 3).
Conclusion: Certain ginsenosides inhibit lung inflammatory responses by interrupting these signaling molecules and they are potential therapeutics for inflammatory lung diseases.