Red Ginseng and its Effect on Aging Skin

red gensing aging

Red Ginseng + Aging

Red ginseng extract is believed to have antioxidant, immunostimulatory and anti-aging properties. This is the first controlled study on humans to explore the effects of red ginseng extract in photoaged skin, or skin damaged by sun exposure. The facial skins of healthy women volunteers aged above 40 years were tested before and after prolonged treatment with a special mixture of red ginseng extract and other herbs. The objective of the study was to measure wrinkles, elasticity, redness and pigmentation of the facial skin, as well as water content in the skin’s outer layer. The results of the test support the beneficial effects of red ginseng, Torilus fructus and Corni fructus on photoaging of the skin.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are capable of causing sunburn, increased pigmentation, reduced immunity, premature skin aging or photoaging, and skin cancers. Photoaging, along with normal aging of the skin, produces wrinkles, roughness and mottled pigmentation of facial skin. Damage to extracellular connective tissue matrix like collagen fiber accompanies the process of photoaging. Exposure to UV rays triggers the formation of several chemicals like metalloproteinases, leading to photoaging.  Oriental herb extracts like red ginseng have long been used as alterntative medicines to treat these conditions. Biochemical studies have been performed to understand the metabolites formed with intake of Panax ginseng (P. Ginseng) root, in the steamed and air-dried form of red ginseng and the air-dried form of white ginseng. In this research, the beneficial effect of orally administered red ginseng was observed on the photoaging process of the skin.

* Healthy female subjects over 40 years of age were tested in a randomized, double-blind study.
* Capsules containing red ginseng extract powder mixed with herbs (3 g/day) were provided to the subjects for 24 weeks.
* Facial wrinkles, elasticity, redness, pigmentation and water content of outer skin layer were measured at baseline, 12 and 24 weeks. * Other analyses were done to to test things like collagen production.

* Among 86 female subjects, 82 completed the study. The participants were in the 40 to 70 age group.
* The intake of red ginseng extract improved facial wrinkles in the subjects.
* No improvement in the facial elasticity, water content of the outer skin layer, redness or pigmentation was observed.
* Collagen production was enhanced in the subjects who took the red ginseng mixture.
* The elasticity of the skin was not changed upon usage of the ginseng extract although fibrillin-1, a component of elastic fiber, was significantly elongated.

Ginseng is a complex molecular mixture of many biologically active substances. In this study, two herb extracts of Torilus fructus and Corni fructus were used along with red ginseng; so the effect of pure red ginseng is difficult to identify. Future studies using only red ginseng extracts can confirm the results obtained in this study. The exact mechanism by which ginseng produces collagen is not clear and can be a subject of further biochemical studies.

P. ginseng is a traditional medicinal herb indigenous to Korea and China and has been studied in detail, thanks to its many positive biological functions like anti-aging effects, immunostimulatory activity and antioxidant activity. This study for the first time demonstrates the direct effect of long-term use of red ginseng extract on facial wrinkles on human skin. Ginseng was also found to induce collagen production and the possible mechanism can be through its estrogen-like activity.  The excessive use of ginseng on a long-term basis has shown side effects such as hypertension, insomnia and stomach troubles.

For More Information:
Red Ginseng Root Extract Mixed with Torilus Fructus and Corni Fructus Improves Facial Wrinkles and Increases Type I Procollagen Synthesis in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
Publication Journal: Journal of Medicinal Food, August 2009
By Soyun Cho; Chong-Hyun Won; Seoul National University Boramae Hospital, Seoul, and Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.

FYI Living recommends Authentic Korean Red Ginseng.