Ewa Kochan, Sylwia Caban, Aleksander Chmiel

Aktywność biologiczna i farmakologiczna metabolitów żeń-szenia

The biological and pharmacological activity of ginseng metabolites. Panax species is a highly valued medicinal plant in eastern medicine and has gained popularity in the West during the last decades. Despite a lack of medical evidence to support its therapeutic efficacy, the use of herbal medicines has increased considerably. The major active compounds of ginseng are ginsenosides, a diverse group of steroidal saponins. They have been proved to have ability to target a myriad of tissues, producing an array of pharmacological responses. Ginsenosides and other constituents of ginseng produce effects, moreover a single saponine initiates multiple actions in the tissues. This all indicates that an overall pharmacology of ginseng is complex. This article presents the structural variability of ginseng active compounds and the relationship between chemical structure and pharmacological activity. We also raise the problem of whether ginseng should be regarded more as a drug or as a food supplement.