Pharmacological and phytochemical characterization of immunomodulatory polysaccharides from American ginseng

Ginseng is a medicinal plant with a long history of traditional use. The medicinal properties of ginseng root have been attributed to two main classes of chemical compounds: ginsenosides and polysaccharides. While much is known about ginsenoside pharmacology, less is known about polysaccharide pharmacology. One of the most important properties of ginseng root polysaccharides is their ability to stimulate the immune system. Much of this work has been carried out in laboratory experiments where the effects of the gut on these polysaccharides are ignored, even though the gut plays an important role in determining which polysaccharides make their way in to the blood. This study proposes to investigate the way the gut breaks down and then absorbs ginseng polysaccharides, and how these absorbed polysaccharides affect immune cells found in the blood. By identifying the polysaccharides that make their way in to the blood and how they can affect our immune system, we can have a much better understanding of the most medicinally relevant constituents of ginseng root. This information can be used to develop better ginseng root products.

Faculty Supervisor:

Edmund Lui


Brendan Walshe-Roussel


Western Phytoceutica Inc.


Pharmacy / Pharmacology




Western University



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