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Ginseng improves flu vaccine effectiveness in mice: research

Korea Ginseng Corp.’s CheongKwanJang HongSamWon, a ginseng drink (Korea Ginseng Corp.)
Korea Ginseng Corp.’s CheongKwanJang HongSamWon, a ginseng drink (Korea Ginseng Corp.)

Ginseng can help boost the effectiveness of flu vaccines used on mice, and is also helpful in protecting respiratory organs, Korea Ginseng Corp.’s research institute said Monday.

According to a study by KGC’s Korea Ginseng Research Institute, ginseng intake increases the protective effect of vaccines compared to when the vaccine is used alone.

The Korean ginseng company also cited research dubbed, “Protective Effect of Korean Red Ginseng Extract on the Infections by H1N1 and H3N2 Influenza Viruses in Mice,” published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2012.

In the research, virus-infected mice that were given both vaccination and ginseng extracts showed higher survival rates than those that were given only the vaccine, when they were exposed to H1N1 and H3N2 influenza viruses.

The paper said naive mice that were infected with virus mixed with red ginseng extract showed significantly enhanced protection, lower levels of lung viral titers and interleukin-6, when compared to control mice having virus infections without red ginseng extracts, indicating an antiviral effect of ginseng.

Following these research results, KCG’s research institute said it would continue to conduct clinical tests to determine ginseng’s effects against viruses.

In 2020, KCG signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Vaccine Institute to cooperate on immune booster development and supply 12 different types of ginsenosides extracted from its ginseng products CheongKwanJang, the company added.

“Ginseng consumption increased in Korea after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, as people seek to boost immunity and maintain health,” Kim Yang-jin, a global division chief at KCG said.

“Korean ginseng is exported to many countries around the world, including the US, China and Japan, and is contributing to health.”

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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