Geumsan, the cradle of life, the land of the future
Korean ginseng is 60 to 70% carbohydrates such as starch, but it also consists of other unique components that are not observed in other plant species and such include ginsenoside, polyacetylene, anti-oxidant aromatic compounds, gomisin-N, -A, which has a liver and intestine production function, and acidic peptides that perform similar actions as insulin.
Of the major non-saponin compounds, phenol and polyacetylene compounds, which have anti-oxidant effects and inhibit proliferation of cancer cells, are present in larger amounts compared to the American ginseng.
Most of the pharmacological actions of Korean ginseng result from the saponin compounds, which are called ginsenoside. They are different from the saponin compounds found in other plant species in terms of checmial structure and efficacy. With the application of the latest separation and analysis technology, the chemical structures of 30 different types of ginsenosides have been discovered.
Depending on the chemical structure, ginsenosides are divided into protopanaxadiol (PD), protopanaxatriol (PT) and oleanane ginsenosides, and 19 types, 10 types and 1 type have been separated and refined, respectively, so far. There are 30 types of ginsenosides in total discovered for Korean ginseng, which display more diversity compared to the American ginseng with 10 different types and the Chinese ginseng with 15 types of ginsenosides.
|Category||Red ginseng||White ginseng|
|Color||Brownish red, brownish yellow red, dark brown color||Milky white or yellowish color|
|Saponin content||Ginsenoside-Rg2(20R), Rg3(20S), Rh1(20R), Rh2, Rh4, etc. (partial structural changes resulting from thermal breakdown of genosides)||Malonyl-ginsenoside-Rb1, Rb2, Rc and Rd (Malonyl-ginsenosides are water-solutable and thermally unstable; they are converted into ginsenosides during heat treatment at 60~70°C)|
|Acidic polysaccharide content||7~8%||2~3%|
|Enzymes||Deactivated||Almost all are activated (α-amylase, invertase, etc.)|
|Polyacetylene content||0.6~1.0 mg/g||0.1~0.2 mg/g|
|Browning substances||Presence of browning substances with higher molecular weight compared to white ginseng (melanoidin pigment)||Presence of natural pigments rather than browning substances|
|Degree of hydrogen donation (Reduction activity)||High||Low|
|Inhibition of platelet action and coagulation||High||Low|
|Type/Variety||Korean ginseng||American ginseng||Chinese ginseng||Japanese ginseng|
|Red ginseng||White ginseng|
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