Ginseng, the root of Panax ginseng C.A.Meyer, is a well-known oriental folk medicine that has been shown to produce a variety of medicinal efficacy in both nervous and non-nervous system. The last three decades have shown a marked expansion of publications in evaluation of diversity of ginseng efficacies. Ginsenosides, as an active ingredient of ginseng, are a kind of glycosides only found in ginseng. Recently, a line of evidences shows that ginsenosides regulate various types of ion channels such as Ca2+, K+, Na+, Cl-, or ligand gated ion channels (i.e., glutamate, 5-HT3, or nicotinic acetylcholine receptor) as other well-known receptor agonists do. This article will provide some accumulated examples how ginsenosides regulate each ion channel at single cellular level in neuronal or non-neuronal cells, what is the possible signaling pathway of ginsenosides in the regulation of them, and finally how ginsenoside-induced ion channel regulations could be correlated with ginseng efficacy.
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