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White Ginseng or Red Ginseng?

Ginseng Radix, the root of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, is now a popular medicinal herb throughout the world. It has been used in Chinese medicine since 2000 years ago as a restorative adaptogen to promote longevity and health.

On the market, we found red ginseng extract and ginseng extract, they both have components ginsenosides and polysaccharides, and they are both good for immune enhancing and energy supplying.

Red ginseng- steamed white gingeng

Why there are white ginseng and red ginseng?

Red and white ginseng do not come from different plants, as many people believe, rather, their differences have evolved over time. Over thousands of years ginseng changed from a wild herb to a product of large-scale farming plant. The need for prolonged storage of harvested plants has led to an expansion of post-harvesting procedures.

White ginseng (Ginseng Radix Alba) and red ginseng are two types that are produced using various methods (Ginseng Radix Rubra). Therefore, they are both derived from the same plant variety/specie, Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer.

White ginseng is processed by Air-drying the fresh ginseng root, while red ginseng is developed by steaming the fresh ginseng root for 2-3 hours until the color becomes yellow, then drying the steamed ginseng. This procedure of steam and drying can be repeated for several cycles. The steaming step in somehow inactivate the catabolic enzymes, thereby prevent the deterioration of ginseng quality. The steaming process affects several parameters, especially the composition and properties of the active ingredients.

What are the differences between white ginseng and red ginseng?

Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer extracts made from aerial or underground parts of the plant are commercially available, the aerial parts include leaves, stems, and ginseng berries, and extracts from all these aerial parts are accessible respectively or combined.

The active ingredients of the extracts are both ginsenosides. Ginseng roots and rootlets have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, ginsenosides derived from underground are more researched by scientists and have proven their effectiveness in the health field. For pharmaceutical and dietary supplements, Ginseng root extract is a better choice.

Which ginseng is used for the extraction? White Ginseng or Red Ginseng?

1. The inactivation of cartobolic enzymes of the steaming step increase the antioxidant-like substances which inhibit lipid per-oxide formation.

Dried white ginseng

2. The starch is gelatinizated by the steaming which lead to good gastro-intestinal absorption.

3. The ginsenosides composition changes due to different processing of ginseng roots, according to studies.

▶ The results obtained showed that red ginseng differ from white ginseng due to the lack of acidic malonyl-ginsenosides.

The heating procedure in red ginseng was proved to degrade the thermally unstable malonyl-ginsenoside into corresponding netural ginsenosides.

See as Table 1 on the right.

Table 1 Predicted residual rate(%) of malonyl-ginsenosides in lateral root of 6-year-old ginseng by steaming process of red ginseng.
Table1 Concentration of Malonyl-ginsenosides changes as the steaming process of red ginseng

▶ The steaming process of red ginseng causes degradation or transformation of neutral ginsenosides.

Ginsenosides Rh., Rh Rs,Rs, and Rg, found only in red ginseng, have been known to be hydrolyzed products derived from original saponin by heat processing, responsible for inhibitory effects on the growth of cancer cells through the induction of apoptosis.

20(S)-ginsenoside Rg, was also formed in red ginseng and was shown to exhibit vasorelaxation properties, antimetastatic activities, and anti-platelet aggregation activity. Recently, steamed red ginseng at high temperature was shown to provide enhance the yield of ginsenosides Rg. and Rg, characteristic of red ginseng.
See as Table 2 on the right.


Table 2 Variation of ginsenosides content(mg/g) in lateral root of 6-year-old ginseng during process of steaming red ginseng.
Table2 Changing of ginsenoside content in ginseng during steaming process of Red ginseng

▶What is the characteristics ginsenosides of white ginseng and red ginseng?

The characteristics ginsenosides of white ginseng and red ginseng are different, the differences are collected  and compared by Korean scientists.

See as Table 3 on the right.

Table 3 Comparison of ginsenoside composition between red ginseng and white ginseng.

4.Additionally, some of the polysaccharides, get structurally changed during the preparation of red ginseng.

Polysaccharides(sugar) are another class of important active components in ginseng. The sugar components degrade during the heat processing. Therefore, the concentration of the reducing sugars (acidic polysaccharides) in red ginseng is higher than in white ginseng. Matltol and its glucosides have been considered artificially synthesized as there is a Maillard reaction when the heating process is ongoing

Red ginseng and white ginseng are both commercially supplied as nutraceutical ingredients in powders: red ginseng powder, ginseng powder, red ginseng extract powder, and ginseng powder.

Check the ginseng benefits, ongoing clinical trials, and find out how to purchase the best quality ginseng extract.

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