Ginseng, an ancient and famous herbal drug in oriental traditional medicine, has been used as a valuable tonic
and for the treatment of various diseases. In medicinal purpose, ginseng root is used more common than aerial parts such
as leaves and flower buds although extracts from ginseng aerial parts also contain similar active ingredients having pharmacological
functions. This article reviews the purification of thirty four ginsenosides (1-34) from ginseng leaves and
flower buds and their pharmacological effects. Ginsenosides are structurally classified into protopanaxadiol (PPD) and
protopanaxatriol (PPT) types depending on their aglycones. The anti-oxidant activity of PPD-type ginsenosides like Rb1,
Rd, Rc, and Rh2 was more active than that of PPT-type ginsenosides. Moreover, the presence of hydroperoxy in ginsenoside
molecule was important for the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging activity of ginsenosides. It
became evident that ginsenoside F1 (8), ginsenoside F5 (9) and floralginsenoside Ta (21) remarkably inhibited the growth
of HL-60 cells via the apoptosis pathway. Ginsenoside I (33) displayed potent inhibitory effect on IL-12 p40 production in
lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) with IC50 of 6.7 μM although floralginsenoside
Kc (20) and floralginsenoside J (29) showed moderate effects. Ginsenoside F1 (8), a major ginsenoside of
ginseng leaves, and notoginsenosie R1 (5) significantly decreased contraction by 35 ± 3.4% and by 53 ± 1.1% at 10 μM,
respectively. Floralginsenoside Kc (20), a new ginsenoside from flower-buds, showed positive inotropic effect.
Keywords: Ginseng, Panax ginseng, aerial part, ginsenoside, anti-oxidant activity, cytotoxic activity, anti-inflammatory activity, myocyte contraction, cardiac contraction, pharmacological effect, protopanaxadiol, protopanaxatriol.
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