Two studies published in a recent issue of Nutrients and an upcoming publication of the International Journal of Molecular Medicine by researcher Sang-Moo Kang of Georgia State University report the beneficial effects of ginseng for influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in mice study.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), seasonal influenza is a serious respiratory disease that causes annual epidemics in humans worldwide, resulting in about 3-5 million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages, also affects millions and is the leading cause of inflammatory bronchitis pneumonia and viral death in infants and some elderly adults. Given the anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and immune modifying abilities of ginseng, researcher Sang-Moo Kang of Georgia State University’s institute for Biomedical Sciences decided to study the beneficial effects of ginseng in treating and preventing these two viral diseases.
In his publication in Nutrients, Kanginvestigated whether red ginseng extract has preventive effects on influenza A virus infections. In the study, mice were infected with influenza A virus, and orally administered ginseng. Kang found that the extract improved the survival of human lung epithelial cells infected with influenza virus, and also reduced the expression of genes that cause inflammation. Kang’s second study, soon to be published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, investigated whether Korean red ginseng has antiviral effects, specifically for treating RSV infection. Kang found that Korean red ginseng extract improved the survival of human lung epithelial cells against RSV infection and inhibited the virus from replicating in the body. Additionally, mice that were orally administered the ginseng extract also had lower viral levels after infection with RSV, suggesting ginseng extract’s antiviral activity.
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