Review Article

Ginsenoside Rg1 in neurological diseases: From bench to bedside

Shao-jie Yang1, Jing-ji Wang2, Ping Cheng1, Li-xia Chen1, Jia-min Hu1, Guo-qi Zhu1
1 Key Laboratory of Xin’an Medicine, the Ministry of Education and Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Brain diseases), Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, Hefei 230012, China
2 The Second Affiliation Hospital of Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, Hefei 230061, China
Correspondence to: Jing-ji Wang:, Guo-qi Zhu:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-022-01022-1
Received: 1 July 2022
Accepted: 25 October 2022
Advance online: 15 November 2022


Ginseng has been used in China as a superior medicinal material for thousands of years that can nourish the five internal organs, calm the mind and benefit wisdom. Due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective activities, one of the active components of ginseng, ginsenoside Rg1, has been extensively investigated in the remedy of brain disorders, especially dementia and depression. In this review, we summarized the research progress on the action mechanisms of Rg1 ameliorating depression-like behaviors, including inhibition of hyperfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, regulation of synaptic plasticity and gut flora. Rg1 may alleviate Alzheimer’s disease in the early phase, as well as in the middle-late phases through repairing dendrite, axon and microglia- and astrocyte-related inflammations. We also proposed that Rg1 could regulate memory state (the imbalance of working and aversive memory) caused by distinct stimuli. These laboratory studies would further the clinical trials on Rg1. From the prospective of drug development, we discussed the limitations of the present investigations and proposed our ideas to increase permeability and bioavailability of Rg1. Taken together, Rg1 has the potential to treat neuropsychiatric disorders, but a future in- depth investigation of the mechanisms is still required. In addition, drug development will benefit from the clinical trials in one specific neuropsychiatric disorder.
Keywords: ginsenoside Rg1; neurological disease; depression; Alzheimer’s disease; learning and memory

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