Understanding the Hot Properties of Ginseng

Ginseng, a dietary supplement and a revered herb in traditional medicine, has long been associated with various health benefits. We demonstrate promising potentials of ginseng in alleviating hypothyroid-related metabolic disturbances and inflammation, while also modulating circadian gene expression.
Published in Immunology and Anatomy & Physiology

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Recent studies have emphasized the need for further research to elucidate the intricate relationship between herbal medicine-mediated microbiota regulation and its potential impact on brown adipocyte thermogenesis. In line with this, our study seeks to comprehensively evaluate the effects of ginseng on body temperature rhythm, inflammatory cytokine production, and gut bacterial profile in a hypothermia rat model, while also investigating the underlying mechanisms through in vitro experiments.

Ginseng’s Effects on Metabolism and Body Temperature

Our investigation reveals compelling evidence suggesting that ginseng supplementation may alleviate hypothyroidism-induced anorexia, as evidenced by increased food intake and body mass compared to the control group. Moreover, ginseng-treated rats exhibit higher core body temperature and rhythm amplitudes, indicative of enhanced metabolic activity and potential weight loss. Previous research supporting ginseng's thermogenic properties, attributed to specific phytochemical constituents, aligns with our findings. Ginseng's effects on thermogenesis appear to involve the regulation of the sympathetic nervous system and thyroid hormone metabolism, as evidenced by increased thyroid hormone levels during treatment periods. Furthermore, the observed negative correlation between bacterial byproduct lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and body temperature implies a potential role of microbiota in host thermoregulation and inflammation, while fluctuating levels of serum glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) suggest ginseng's ability to modulate gut anorexic hormones and promote appetite.

Modulation of Circadian Clock Genes

Disrupted thyroid function is associated with altered expression of circadian clock genes, as observed in our study. Hypothyroidism leads to attenuation of circadian clock genes in peripheral metabolic organs, a phenomenon commonly observed in thyroid dysfunction. However, ginseng treatment restores the expression of these genes, indicating its potential in improving hypothyroid-related rhythm disorders. Additionally, ginseng supplementation enhances the amplitude of body temperature rhythm in hypothyroid rat models, further supporting its role in regulating circadian processes. While the exact mechanisms underlying ginseng's effects on circadian rhythm remain to be fully elucidated, our study marks the first exploration of ginseng's function in improving the expression of circadian clock genes in peripheral metabolic organs.

Effects of Ginseng Extracts on Inflammation

Ginseng demonstrates promising anti-inflammatory efficacy, consistent with previous studies. In the small intestine, ginseng treatment stimulates the expression of thermal and chemical signal-related genes while reversing hypothyroidism-associated depression in key enzymes for thyroid metabolism. Additionally, ginseng supplementation upregulates receptors associated with thermogenesis and downregulates receptors related to bacterial detection. Ginseng-induced activation of thermogenesis may be associated with alleviating intestinal inflammation. Conversely, L-thyroxine treatment exacerbates inflammation, underscoring the differential effects of ginseng and conventional treatments on inflammatory pathways.

The Herb-Microbiota-Gut Axis

Our study highlights the intricate interplay between ginseng, gut microbiota, and host gene expression. Ginseng supplementation alters the relative abundance of specific gut bacteria associated with hypothyroidism, suggesting its potential in modulating gut health. Furthermore, ginseng-induced changes in gut microbiota may contribute to adaptive thermogenesis and immunological processes. The observed correlations between gut bacteria genera and host metabolic regulation underscore the complexity of the herb-microbiota-gut axis.

Implications and Future Directions

The study elucidates the therapeutic potential of ginseng in counteracting metabolic disruptions and inflammation induced by hypothyroidism. It underscores the pivotal role of the herb-microbiota-gut axis in host thermoregulation and immunoregulation. Future research endeavors will focus on identifying active ginseng compounds and deciphering their mechanisms of action, paving the way for targeted therapeutic interventions.


In conclusion, our study provides valuable insights into the multifaceted effects of ginseng on thermogenesis, inflammation, and gut microbiota. Ginseng demonstrates promising potentials in alleviating hypothyroid-related metabolic disturbances and inflammation, while also modulating circadian rhythms. Future research endeavors will focus on identifying active ginseng compounds and elucidating their mechanisms of action to further harness the therapeutic potential of this ancient herbal remedy.

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Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Anatomy > Gastrointestinal System > Microbiota
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Immunology > Inflammation
Thyroid Gland
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Anatomy > Endocrine System > Thyroid Gland
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Physiology > Metabolism
Innate Immunity
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Immunology > Innate Immunity

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Live biotherapeutics and medicinal microbiome products

This Collection welcomes contributions on recent developments in the utilization of live biotherapeutics and medicinal microbiome products for the treatment or prevention of diseases. In many cases, suitable drug treatments are still lacking due to the ineffectiveness of existing standards or the presence of long-term side effects. We are particularly interested in difficult-to-treat non-communicable diseases whose pathogenesis is associated with microbiota.

Publishing Model: Open Access

Deadline: Aug 02, 2024