Posted on May 21, 2014, 6 a.m.
Panax Korean red ginseng extract may help treat and prevent influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, in cell-based and lab animal models.
Seasonal influenza is a serious respiratory disease that causes annual epidemics in humans worldwide, resulting in about three to five million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Respiratory syncytial virus is the leading cause of inflammatory bronchiolitis pneumonia and viral death in infants and in some elderly adults. Sang-Moo Kang, from Georgia State University (Georgia, USA), and colleagues investigated whether Panax Korean red ginseng extract has preventive effects on influenza A virus infection. After infection with influenza A virus, mice that were orally administered ginseng over a long time showed multiple immune modifying effects, such as stimulated antiviral production of proteins important in immune response and fewer inflammatory cells in their bronchial walls. Further, the team found that red ginseng extract improves the survival of human lung epithelial cells infected with influenza virus. Also, treatment with red ginseng extract reduced the expression of genes that cause inflammation. The study authors report that: “these results suggested that [Panax Korean red ginseng extract] has antiviral activity against [respiratory syncytial virus] infection.”
Lee JS, Ko EJ, Hwang HS, Lee YN, Kwon YM, Kim MC, Kang SM. “Antiviral activity of ginseng extract against respiratory syncytial virus infection.” Int J Mol Med. 2014 Apr 22.