Ginsenosides and Their CNS Targets


Dr. Khaled Radad, Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut 71526, Egypt. Tel.: +2-882-333938; Fax: +2-882-366503; E-mail:


Ginsenosides are a special group of triterpenoid saponins attributed to medical effects of ginseng. Therefore, they have been research targets over the last three decades to explain ginseng actions and a wealth of literature has been presented reporting on ginsenosides’ effects on the human body. Recently, there is increasing evidence on beneficial effects of ginsenosides to the central nervous system (CNS). Using a wide range of in vitro and in vivo models, researchers have attributed these effects to specific pharmacological actions of ginsenosides on cerebral metabolism, oxidative stress and radical formation, neurotransmitter imbalance and membrane stabilizing effects, and even antiapoptotic effects. Modulating these particular mechanisms by ginsenosides has thus been reported to exert either general stimulatory effects on the brain functions or protecting the CNS against various disease conditions. In this review, we try to address the recently reported ginsenosides’ actions on different CNS targets particularly those supporting possible therapeutic efficacies in CNS disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.