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Pure Ginseng Extract May Fight Parkinson's, Huntington's Disease

Because you know how fond I am of natural treatments, I was drawn to this study that found a partly purified extract of ginsenosides -- among the active chemicals found in ginseng -- was found to successfully combat degenerative brain disease in rats.

Scientist tested ginseng's natural healing powers on rats bred with brains that mimicked the degenerative process seen in Huntington's disease, an inherited disorder of the central nervous system that progressively impairs movement and mental function. A whole-root preparation of American ginseng didn't fight the brain wasting but the ginsenosides did, leading scientists to believe they have the potential to treat diseases, like Parkinson's.

One interesting factoid: The mortality rate of rats given a whole-root ginseng treatment increased.

How does the purified ginseng extract work? Some scientists believe these chemicals may act as antioxidants, therefore neutralizing free radicals in the body. That certainly makes sense to me, considering an antioxidant-rich diet can reduce the amount of brain damage one can suffer from a stroke.

Annals of Neurology, May 2005, Vol. 57, Issue 5: 642-648

ABC News June 2, 2005

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