Since ancient times, ginseng roots have had a reputation in China as a tonic with revitalizing properties (2,13). Several species of ginseng are used: Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer), Japanese ginseng (P. pseudoginseng Wall.), and Western or American ginseng (P. quinquefolius L.). Sometimes Siberian ginseng is also mentioned, but this is an entirely different species, Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim., which contain different substances. The ginseng root contain numerous compounds, but the ones considered active are the so-called ginsenosides (about 20). They are saponins, glycosides of tetracyclic aglycones of the dammarane series, i.e., a trihydroxylated type (protopanaxadiols) and a tetrahydroxylated type (protopanaxatriols). The ginsenosides are numbered: ginsenoside R0, Ra-i-2, Rb-1-3, Rc-f, Rg-1-2, Rh-i (1)-The different ginseng species differ in chemical composition. Ginseng is the subject of a positive German monograph. It is used as a tonic for invigor-ation for fatigue and reduced work capacity and concentration and during convalescence. It is generally referred to as an adaptogen (2,13). There are numerous ginseng products on the market, and at least the ginseng extract G115® from Pharmaton (Ridgefield, CT) is standardized. The manufacturer claims that "it is prepared using a highly sophisticated standardization process, ensuring a consistent level of active components" (Pharmaton product information).
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