Editor's Note
This paper provides an overview of white ginseng and red ginseng, mainly focusing on their chemical profile and immunomodulation activities. The authors review synergistic effects of ginseng herbal drugs with combinations of other traditional herbal drugs or with synthetic drugs. The use of the zebrafish model for bioactivity testing greatly improves the prospects for future ginseng research.
August 2018
Planta Medica
DOI: 10.1055/a-0641-6240

The Difference between White and Red Ginseng: Variations in Ginsenosides and Immunomodulation
Ginseng Radix ( Panax ginseng) is one of the most commonly used herbs worldwide for the treatment of inflammation-related diseases among others, supported by ancient historical records. Throughout this long history, the large-scale cultivation of ginseng created an increasing demand for long-term storage of the harvested plant material, accelerating the development of post-harvesting procedures. Dried white ginseng and processed (steamed) red ginseng are the products of the two most common traditional post-harvest processes. Although there are a significant number of reports on practice-based therapeutic applications of ginseng, science-based evidence is needed to support these uses. Using a reverse pharmacology approach in conjunction with high-throughput techniques and animal models may offer clear, simple paths for the elucidation of the mechanisms of activity of herbal medicines. Moreover, it could provide a new and more efficient method for the discovery of potential drug candidates. From this perspective, the different chemical compositions of white ginseng and red ginseng could very likely result in different interactions with signaling pathways of diverse biological responses. This paper provides an overview of white ginseng and red ginseng, mainly focusing on their chemical profile and immunomodulation activities. Synergistic effects of ginseng herbal drugs with combinations of other traditional herbal drugs or with synthetic drugs were reviewed. The use of the zebrafish model for bioactivity testing greatly improves the prospects for future ginseng research.