Constituents and Effects of Ginseng Leaf

  • Xie, Jing-Tian (Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research,Departments of Anesthesia & Critical Care, University of Chicago) ;
  • Wu, Ji-An (Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research,Departments of Anesthesia & Critical Care, University of Chicago) ;
  • Lin, Elaine (Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research,Departments of Anesthesia & Critical Care, University of Chicago) ;
  • Wang, Chong-Zhi (Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research,Departments of Anesthesia & Critical Care, University of Chicago) ;
  • Yuan, Chun-Su (Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research,Departments of Anesthesia & Critical Care, Committee on Clinical Pharmacology, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago)
  • Published : 2004.03.30


Ginseng root has been used as a tonic remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. Modern studies have demonstrated that ginseng root has complex components and multiple pharmacological properties. The effects of ginseng leaf, however, are not well known. Recent studies show that compared to ginseng root, ginseng leaf and stem exhibit a higher content of active compositions such as ginsenosides, polysaccharides, triterpene flavonoids, volatile oil, polyacetylenic alcohols, peptides, amino acids and fatty acids. Ginseng leaf possesses multiple pharmacological effects in the central nervous, cardiovascular, growth and metabolism systems. Additionally, the leaf has anti-fatigue, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-oxidant, and anti-aged effects. In general, ginseng leaf is quite safe, but adverse effects may occur if it is abused or is of poor quality. Thus, attention must be paid to dosages, quality, and standardization of ginseng leaf products.



  1. Ang-Lee MK, Moss J, Yuan CS. (2001) Herbal medicines and perioperative care. JAMA. 286, 208-216.
  2. Assinewe V, Baum B, Gagnon D and Arnason JT. (2003) Phytochemistry of wild populations of Panax quinquefolius L. (North American Ginseng). J. Agric. Food Chem. 51, 4549-4553.
  3. Attele AS, Wu JA and Yuan CS. (1999) Multiple pharmacological effects of ginseng. Biochem. Pharmacol. 58, 1685-1693.
  4. Attele AS, Zhou YP, Xie JT, Wu JA, Zhang L, Dey L, Pugh W, Paul AR. Polonsky KS, Yuan CS. (2002) Antidiabetic effects of Panax ginseng berry extract and the identification of an effective component. Diabetes 51, 1851-1858.
  5. Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM, Anderson RA. (2000) Insulin-like biological activity of culinary and medicinal plant aqueous extracts in vitro. J. Agric. Food Chem. 48, 849-852.
  6. Chen X, Yang SJ, Chen L, Ma XL, Chen YP, Wang LL, Sun CW. (1994) The effects of Panax quinquefolium saponin (PQS) and its monomer ginsenoside on heart. Zhong Yao Za Zhi 19, 617-620.
  7. Cheng TO. (2000) Panax (ginseng) is not a panacea. Arch. Intern. Med. 160, 3329-3330.
  8. Chevallier A. (2000) Encyclopedia of herbal medicine, pp. 27, 40-43, OK Publishing Inc., New York.
  9. Chung SH, Choi CG, and Park SH. (2001) Comparisons between white ginseng radix and rootlet for antidiabetic activity and mechanism in KKAY mice. Arch. Pharm. Res. 24, 214-218.
  10. Coon JT and Ernst E. (2002) Panax ginseng: a systematic review of adverse effects and drug interactions. Drug Saf 25, 323-344.
  11. Davydov VV, Mololovskii DS, Limarenko Aiu. (1990) Efficacy of ginseng drugs in experimental insulin-dependent diabetes and toxic hepatitis. Patol Fiziol Eksp Ter. 5, 49-52.
  12. Deyama T, Nishibe S, Najazawa Y. (2001) Constituents and pharmacological effects of Eucommia and Siberian ginseng. Acta Pharmacol. Sin. 22, 1057-1070.
  13. Dou DQ, Chen YJ, Liang LH, Pang FG, Shimizu N and Takeda T. (2001) Six new dammarane-type triterpene saponins from the leaves of Panax ginseng. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 49, 442-446.
  14. Dou DQ, Zhang YW, Zhang L, Chen YJ, Yao XS. (2001) The inhibitory effects of ginsenosides on protein tyrosine kinase activated by hypoxia/reoxygenation in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Planta Med. 67, 19-23.
  15. Ernst E. (2002) The risk-benefit profile of commonly used herbal therapies: Ginkgo, St. John's wort, ginseng, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto, and Kava. Ann. Intern. Med. 136, 42-53.
  16. Gillis CN. (1997) Panax ginseng pharmacology: A nitric oxide link? Biochem. Pharmacol. 54, 1-8.
  17. Guan L, Yi X, Feng Q, Yang L. (1996) Effects of saponins from stems and leaves of Panax quinquefolium L. on the contraction of rabbit aortic strips. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 21, 431-434.
  18. Hong M. (1991) Effects of ageing and ginsenoside on atrial natriuretic peptide gene expression. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi 71, 140-143.
  19. Hong M, Jin Y, Mai YQ, Boersma A, Han KK, Vantyghem MC, Lefebere J. (1992) The decline of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) gene expression in older rats and the effects of ginsenoside on ANP gene expression. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. B. 101, 35-39.
  20. Hou JP. (1977) The chemical constituents of ginseng plants. Comp. Med. East and West 5, 123-145.
  21. Huang KC. (1999) The Pharmacology of Chinese herbs, pp. 17-44, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
  22. Hu JX, Jia GX, Yan ZR. (1990) Clinical and experimental study of shenshao tongguan pian in treating angina pectoris of coronary heart disease. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He ZA Zhi 10, 596-599.
  23. Jackson CJC, Dini, JP, Lavandier C, Faulkner H, Rupasinghe, HPV and Proctor JTA. (2003) Ginsenoside content of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L. Araliaceae) in relation to plant development and growing locations. J. Ginseng Research 27, 135-140.
  24. Jiang Y, Zhong GG, Chen L, Ma XY. (1992) Influences of ginsenosides Rb1, Rb2, and Rb3 on electric and contractile activities of normal and damaged culture cardiomyocytes. Acta Pharmacol. Sin. 13, 403-406.
  25. Kaufman DW, Kelly JP, Rosenberg L, Anderson TE and Mitchell AA. (2002) Recent patterns of medication use in the ambulatory adult population of the United States. JAMA. 287, 337-344.
  26. Keum YS, Park KK, Lee JM. Chun KS, Park JH, Lee SK, Kwon H and Surh YJ. (2000) Antioxidant and anti-tumor promoting activities of the methanol extract of heat-processed ginseng. Cancer Lett. 150, 41-48.
  27. Kim YK, Guo Q and Packer L. (2002) Free radical scavenging activity of red ginseng aqueous extracts. Toxicology 172, 149-156.
  28. Kitts DD, Wijewickreme AN, Hu C. (2000) Antioxidant properties of a North American ginseng extract. Mol. Cell Biochem. 203, 1-10.
  29. Klepser TB and Klepser ME. (1999) Unsafe and potentially safe herbal theraties. Am. J. Health Sys. Pharm. 56, 125-138.
  30. Li J, Huang M, Teoh H and Man RYK. (1999) Panax quinquefolium saponins protects low density lipoproteins from oxidation. Life Sci. 64, 53-62.
  31. Li TSC, Mazza G, Cottrell AC, Gao L. (1996) Ginsenosides in roots and leaves of American ginseng. J. Agric. Food Chem. 44, 717-720.
  32. Li TSC, Wardie D. (2002) Seasonal fluctuations of leaf and root weight and ginsenosides contents of 2-, 3-, and 4-year-old American ginseng plants. HortTechnology 12, 229-232.
  33. Lim J-Y, Ishiguro K, Kubo I. (1999) Tyrosinase inhibitory p-coumaric acid from ginseng leaves. Phytother. Res. 13, 371-375.<371::AID-PTR453>3.0.CO;2-L
  34. Ma TC Yu QH, Chen MH. (1991) Effects of ginseng stem-leaf saponins on one-way avoidance behavior in rats. Acta Pharmacol. Sin. 12, 403-406.
  35. Morgan A and Cupp MJ. (2000) Panax ginseng. Edited by MJ. Cupp. PP. 141-153, Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey.
  36. Nocerino E, Amato M, Izzo A. (2000) The aphrodisiac and adaptogenic properties of ginseng. Fitoterapia 71, S1-S5.
  37. Petkov VD, Cao Y, Todorov I, Lazarova M, Getova D, Stancheva S, Alova L. (1992) Behavioral effects of stem-leaves extract from Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer. Acta Physiol. Pharmacol. (Bulg) 18, 41-48.
  38. Shao ZH, Xie JT, Vanden Hoek TL, Mehendale S, Aung HH, Li CQ, Schumacker PT, Becker LB, Yuan CS. (2003) Antioxidant effects of American ginseng berry extract in cardiomyocytes exposed to acute oxidant stress. Biochimica Biophysica Acta (In Press).
  39. Siegel R. (1979) Ginseng abuse syndrome: problems with the panacea. JAMA. 241, 1614-1615.
  40. Singh B, Saxena AK, Chandan BK, Gupta DK, Bhutani KK, Anand KK. (2001) Adaptogenic activity of a novel, withanolide-free aqueous fraction from the roots of Withania somnifera Dun. Phytother. Res. 15, 311-318.
  41. Sotaniemi EA, Haapakoski E, and Rautio A. (1995) Ginseng therapy in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients. Diabetes Care 18, 1373-1375.
  42. Sui DY, Yu XF, Qu SC, Lu ZZ, Wang L, Chen MQ. (2001) Protective effect of Panax quinquefolium 20s-propo-panaxdiolsaponins on myocardial infarction in dogs. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 26, 416-419.
  43. Sun XB, Matsumoto T and Yamada H. (1992) Purification of an anti-ulcer polysaccharide from the leaves of Panax ginseng. Planta Med. 58, 445-448.
  44. Tomlinson B, Chan TYK, Chan JCN, Critchley JAJH, But PPH. (2000) Toxicity of complementary therapies: An Eastern perspective. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 40, 451-456.
  45. Vuksan V, Sievenpiper JL, Koo VYY, Francis T, BeljanZdravkovic U, Xu Z, Vidgen E. (2000) American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch. Int. Med. 160, 1009-1013.
  46. Vuksan V, Sievenpiper JL, Xu Z, Wong EY, Jenkins AL, Beljan-Zdravkovic U, Leiter LA, Josse RG, Stavro MP. (2001) Konjac-mannan and American ginseng: Emerging alternative therapies for type 2 diabetes mellitus. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 20, 370S-380S.
  47. Wang B, Cui J, Liu A. (1980) Antidiuretic effect of ginsenosides of the stems and leaves of Panax ginseng. Acta Pharmacol. Sin. 1, 126-130.
  48. Wang B, Cui J, Liu A. (1982) The action of ginsenosides extracted from the stems and leaves of Panax ginseng in promoting animal growth. Acta Pharmacol. Sin. 17, 899-904.
  49. Wang B, Cui J, Liu A, Wu S. (1983) Studies on the antifatigue effect of the saponins of stems and leaves of Panax ginseng (SSLG). J. Traditional. Chi. Med. 3, 89-94.
  50. Wang A, Gao Y, Wang Y, Zhao R, Liu C. (1995) Effects of Chinese ginseng root and stem-leaf saponins on learning, memory and biogenic monoamines of brain in rats. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 20, 493-495.
  51. Wen Y, Pei Y, Chen Y, Wang Z, Ma Z, Wang M, Li W. (1996) Effects of ginsenosides from stems and leaves on hyperlipemia induced by prednisone acetate in rabbits. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 21, 430-431.
  52. Xie JT, Aung HH, Wu JA, Attele AS, Yuan C-S. (2002-a) Effects of American ginseng berry extract on blood glucose levels in ob/ob mice. Am. J. Chin. Med. 30, 187-194.
  53. Xie JT, Zhou Y-P, Dey L, Attele AS, Wu JA, Gu M, Polonnsky KS, and Yuan CS. (2002-b) Ginseng berry reduces blood glucose and body weight in db/db mice. Phytomed. 9, 254-258.
  54. Xie JT, Mehandale SA, and Malecar S. Is ginseng free from adverse effects? Edited by Yuan CS and Beiber E, CRC Press Company, Boca Raton, London, New York, Washington, D.C.
  55. Xie JT, Mehendale SR, Wang A, Aung HH, Wu JA, Osinski J, and Yuan CS. (2004) American ginseng leaf: Ginsenoside analysis and hypoglycemic activity. Pharmacol. Res. 49, 113-117.
  56. Yang XW, Li LY, Tian JM, Zhang ZW, Ye JM and Gu WF. (2000) $Ginsenoside-Rg_6$, a novel triterpenoid saponin from the stem-leaves of Panax ginseng C. A. Mey. Chinese Chemical Letters 11, 909-912.
  57. Yang Y, Wu T He K, Fu ZG. (1999) Effect of aerobic exercise and ginsenosides on lipid metabolism in diet-induced hyperlipidemia mice. Acta Pharmacol. Sin. 20, 563-565.
  58. Yi RL, Li W, Hao XZ. (1993) Inductive differentiation effect of ginsenosides on human acute nonlymphocytic leukemic cells in 58 patients. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi 13, 722-724.
  59. Yip TT, Lau CN But PP, Kong YC. (1985) Quantitative analysis of ginsenosides in fresh Panax ginseng. Am. J. Chin. Med. 13, 77-88.
  60. Zhang J-M, Matsuura Y, Sueda T and Orihashi K. (1999) Beneficial effects of ginsenosides of stems and leaves on cardiac and coronary vascular functions after 12-hour rat heart preservation. Transplant. Proc. 31, 2175-2178.
  61. Zhonghua Bencao Editor. (1996) Zhonghua Bencao (Chinese Herbal Medicine), pp. 268-281, Shanghai Science and Technology House, Shanghai.
  62. Zhou L, Hao R, Jiang L. (1999) Clinical study on retarding aging effect of tongbu recipe to traditional Chinese medicine. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi fie He Za Zhi 19, 218-220.