Ginseng, an herb used in traditional Chinese and other Asian medicine for thousands of years, has anti-inflammatory properties, a new study has found.
Scientists from the University of Hong Kong identified seven ginseng compounds, called ginsenosides, which they believe demonstrate immune-suppressive effects. Specifically, after treating human immune cells with different extracts of ginseng they found the seven ginsenosides had the ability to selectively inhibit expression of the inflammatory gene CXCL-10.
“The [benefits] of ginseng may be due to the combined effects of these ginsenosides, targeting different levels of immunological activity, and so contributing to the diverse actions in humans,” says researcher Allan Lau who led the team.
“Further studies will be needed to examine the potential beneficial effects of [the herb] in the management of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases in humans,” he adds.
Ginseng is a slow-growing perennial plant native to cooler climates of eastern Asia, including northern China, Korea and eastern Siberia, and it is available in the form of roots or nutritional supplements in many health stores across the U.S.