Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A meyer) roots are commonly used in oriental countries for various purposes (as adaptogen or tonic, aphrodisiacs, nourishing stimulants, and in the treatment of type II diabetes, hepatitis as well as sexual dysfunction in men).
Recently it has also been studied for antiulcer (Choon Sik Jeong et. al., 2003, Arch. Pharm.Res vol 26, No 11, 906-911), antiangiognesis, antiproliferation and apoptosis.,(Anna B. Fishbein et. al., 2009, Arch.Pharm.Res Vol 32, No 4, 505-513).
Gingseng are slow growing perennial herbs. Gingseng are classified as Red gingseng (RG) and White ginseng (WG) based on the heat treatment.
Former is heat treated or steamed whereas latter one unsteamed. Most of the herbalists prefer RG over WG for the treatment of various conditions.
Active constituents of ginseng are various saponins commonly referred as ginsenosides.
Researchers from Tang center for herbal medicine research, university of Chicago (Anna B. Fishbein et. al., 2009, Arch.Pharm.Res Vol 32, No 4, 505-513) have found that gingseng increases the anti-proliferative effect of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) on human colorectal cancer (HCT-116). They have found that only RG shows the enhancement of 5-FU activity.