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Study confirms anti-stress effect of ginseng

Ginseng on display at a Seoul department store. (Yonhap News)
Ginseng on display at a Seoul department store. (Yonhap News)
A group of South Korean scientists said Thursday they have confirmed anti-stress effects of Goryeo ginseng, adding to the long list of health benefits of the perennial plant.

According to the scientists from the Rural Development Administration, Goryeo ginseng helped reduce the level of stress, as well as depression, in pregnant mice that underwent a series of stress-inducing activities, such as forced swimming and exposure to extreme cold.

The research was conducted jointly with a team of scientists from Seoul’s Hanyang University.

The test showed the group of pregnant mice that underwent a series of stress tests showed behaviors related to various mental disorders, including depression and schizophrenia, while another group of mice that were injected with ginseng extract after undergoing the same set of stress tests showed a significantly lower level of such behaviors, the RDA said in a press release.

The frequency of mental disorder-related behaviors in the control group was cut by 51.38 percent from that of the stress group.

The RDA said the latest research will help further boost the country’s exports of Goryeo ginseng.

“The administration plans to help increase exports and income of ginseng farmers by continuing to research the effects of separate ginsenosides, including the one that has been found to have anti-stress effects,” it said.

Ginsenosides are substances found exclusively in ginseng.

Earlier research by the RDA have confirmed that ginseng grown in Korea contains over 40 different types of ginsenosides, though each of their effects has yet to be identified, while other species of ginseng grown outside of South Korea contain only about 20 types of ginsenosides.

Confirmed benefits of Goryeo ginseng include anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects. (Yonhap News)