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Antihyperglycemic effects of total ginsenosides from leaves and stems of Panax ginseng (Korean Ginseng)

About 8 percent of the USA population and 3 percent of the world population suffers from diabetes. Diabetes is a serious and chronic diseases that can result in many complications such as vascular damage, neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy. Drugs used to control blood glucose levels in diabetes have side effects. As a result, alternative anti-diabetic therapies based on natural ingredients, such as Korean ginseng, are becoming more popular. Traditionally only the roots of Korean ginseng are used in herbal extracts, however other parts of the ginseng plant also contain interesting levels of ginsenosides. Actually ginseng leaves and berries contain higher levels of ginsenosides than ginseng roots.

The antihyperglycemic effects of extract of the leaves and stem of Korean ginseng were determined in diabetic mice. The mice received injections or oral administration of Korean ginseng extract for 12 days. After fasting for hours, the blood glucose levels and body weight were determined. The mice, which were injected with a high dose (200 mg per kg) of Korean ginseng extract, showed a significant lower blood glucose level. The Korean ginseng extract inhibited blood glucose levels in a dose-dependent manner and increased overall glucose tolerance. The oral administration of Korean ginseng extract (300 mg per kg) also lowered blood glucose levels and resulted in a significant reduction of body weight.

There are many theories to explain the anti-diabetic effect of Korean ginseng. One theory is that Korean ginseng lowers food intake and increases body temperature, thereby increasing the basal metabolic rate. Another theory suggests that Korean ginseng improves to sensitivity of cells to insulin or that it changes blood insulin levels. A third theory is that the antioxidant property of Korean ginseng extract results in a anti-diabetic action.

The study concluded that ginsenosides extracted from the leaves and stems of Korean ginseng have some potential as anti-diabetic agent. Korean ginseng not only lowers blood glucose levels but also improves glucose tolerance. Extracts from leaves and stems of Korean ginseng could be developed into new anti-diabetic drugs, subject to confirmation in clinical trials.


Source: Jing-tian Xie, Chong-zhi Wang, An-bao Wang, Jian Wu, Daniel Basila and Chun-su Yuan. Antihyperglycemic effects of total ginsenosides from leaves and stems of Panax ginseng (Korean Ginseng). Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, September 2005, 26 (9): 1104-1110



 
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