Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, one of the most popular and valued herbs, has been used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. More than thirty ginsenosides, the pharmacologically active ingredients in ginseng, have been identified with various sugar moieties attached at the C-3, C-6 and C-20 positions of the steroidal skeleton. We herein review the current literature on the pharmacological effects of ginsenosides on the modulation of angiogenesis, dysregulations of which contribute towards many pathological conditions. Regarding the adaptogenic property of ginseng, the effects of ginsenosides on central nervous system are also discussed. Recent researches have pointed to the steroid hormone receptors as the target molecules to elicit the diverse cellular and physiological activities of ginseng. We believe that understanding the interaction between ginsenosides and various steroid hormone receptors may provide clues to unravel the secret of ginseng.
Keywords: Ginseng, ginsenosides, steroid hormone receptors, angiogenesis, angiotherapy, cognitive functions, neuroprotection
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