Ginseng May Help Reset Body Clock and Reduce Inflammation

Jenn Hoskins
20th March, 2024

Ginseng May Help Reset Body Clock and Reduce Inflammation

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a Chinese study, ginseng helped rats with low body temperature improve their temperature rhythms and gut health
  • Ginseng influenced gut hormones and the variety of microbes in the gut, which are linked to metabolism and immune function
  • The herb's benefits may be due to its impact on body clock genes and inflammation, involving a specific cellular pathway (PI3K-AKT)
Ginseng, a herbal remedy long valued in traditional medicine, has recently been the focus of scientific investigation for its potential to treat metabolic disorders. Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have taken a closer look at how ginseng might work within the body, specifically its effects on body temperature and gut health[1]. This exploration could help address a gap in our understanding of herbal medicines and their interactions with human physiology. The study's central discovery is that intermittent doses of ginseng extracts can regulate body temperature rhythms and reduce inflammation in the bodies of rats with chemically induced hypothermia. These rats were given propylthiouracil (PTU), a substance known to cause a drop in body temperature, mimicking conditions such as hypothyroidism. The ginseng treatment not only stabilized the rats' body temperatures but also seemed to improve the health of their gut. One of the key findings relates to the gut microbiome, the complex community of microorganisms living in the digestive tract. The study observed that ginseng affected the secretion of gut hormones and altered the composition of the microbiome. This is significant because the gut microbiome has been linked to a host of health outcomes, including those related to metabolism and immune function. This ties in with previous research suggesting that herbal medicines like Yijung-tang (YJT) can influence the gut microbiome, with implications for thermoregulation and inflammation[2]. Moreover, the study looked at how ginseng influences genes related to the body's circadian clock—the internal mechanism that regulates sleep-wake cycles and other physiological processes. Inflammation, a response to various stresses in the body, was also examined. In cell culture experiments, ginseng extracts directly altered the expression of genes associated with these functions. It suggests that ginseng could be beneficial for individuals who suffer from sleep deprivation, as it may help regulate energy metabolism and improve sleep quality[3]. The study also delved into the signaling pathways through which ginseng might exert its effects, particularly the PI3K-AKT pathway. This pathway is involved in a variety of cellular functions, including metabolism and inflammation. By administering a PI3K inhibitor, researchers were able to block the gene expression effects induced by ginseng or byproducts of the gut microbiota, highlighting the importance of this pathway in the herb's mechanism of action. This finding is consistent with other studies that have investigated the role of ginseng polysaccharides in immune regulation and their potential to protect against immune liver injury by inhibiting the same pathway[4]. In summary, the study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences provides evidence that ginseng can help regulate body temperature and reduce inflammation, potentially through its interactions with the gut microbiome and its impact on the circadian clock and inflammatory genes. These effects seem to be mediated, at least in part, by the PI3K-AKT signaling pathway. While further research is needed to fully understand these mechanisms and their implications for human health, this study contributes valuable insights into how herbal medicines like ginseng may one day be used more effectively to treat metabolic disorders and improve overall well-being.



Main Study

1) Ginseng extracts improve circadian clock gene expression and reduce inflammation directly and indirectly through gut microbiota and PI3K signaling pathway.

Published 19th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Yijung-tang improves thermogenesis and reduces inflammation associated with gut microbiota in hypothyroid rats.

3) Ginsenoside Rg5 Improves Sleep by Regulating Energy Metabolism in Sleep-Deprived Rats.

4) Ginseng polysaccharide reduces autoimmune hepatitis inflammatory response by inhibiting PI3K/AKT and TLRs/NF-κB signaling pathways.

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