The Study of the Estrogenic Properties of American Ginseng


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By Stephanie Bartlett

Advised by Dr. Dean Kahl
presented 02 Dec 1996

Ginseng has been studied for thousands of years as a folk medicine by Chinese, Korean, and Appalachian communities. The use of ginseng is often based on the "Doctrine of Signatures" which is the belief that the shape of the herb or plant tells us what part of the body it will heal. Ginseng is used to treat many of the ailments of the body like stress, fatigue, stomach and bowel problems, and to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Research on ginseng has been focused on ginseng saponins or ginsenosides. Sanada isolated more than thirteen ginsenosides and identified them using thin layer chromatography. Sanada’s work gave future researchers the means to identify ginsenosides in different kinds of ginseng. This project involved the development of a method to analyze ginsenosides by thin layer chromatography. The quality of the tlc plates was found to be critical. It was shown that the ginseng extracts were stable for as long as two months. Finally, ginseng from Sigma Chemical Company and a preparation from a local food health store were shown to contain the active ingredient, Rb-l.