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Observations placeholder

Ginseng and rotavirus



Type of Spiritual Experience



Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among infants and young children, and is one of several viruses that cause infections often called stomach flu, despite having no relation to influenza. It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the family Reoviridae.

By the age of five, nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once. However, with each infection, immunity develops, and subsequent infections are less severe; adults are rarely affected. There are five species of this virus, referred to as A, B, C, D, and E. Rotavirus A, the most common, causes more than 90% of infections in humans.

The virus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route. It infects and damages the cells that line the small intestine and causes gastroenteritis. Although rotavirus was discovered in 1973 and accounts for up to 50% of hospitalisations for severe diarrhoea in infants and children, its importance is still not widely known within the public health community.

Worldwide more than 500,000 children under five years of age still die from rotavirus infection each year and almost two million more become severely ill. In the United States, before initiation of the rotavirus vaccination programme, rotavirus caused about 2.7 million cases of severe gastroenteritis in children, almost 60,000 hospitalisations, and around 37 deaths each year. Public health campaigns to combat rotavirus focus on providing oral rehydration therapy for infected children and vaccination to prevent the disease. But there is another route…………..

A description of the experience


Pectic polysaccharides from Panax ginseng as the antirotavirus principals in ginseng.  Baek SH, Lee JG, Park SY, Bae ON, Kim DH, Park JH - College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, 151-742, Republic of Korea.

To evaluate the antidiarrheal effect of ginseng, the active principals of ginseng were studied in vitro model of rotavirus infection, the leading cause of severe diarrhea.

Two pectic polysaccharides, named as GP50-dHR (56.0 kDa) and GP50-eHR (77.0 kDa), were purified from hot water extract of ginseng by bioassay-linked fractionation. Both polysaccharides rescued cell viability from rotavirus infection dose-dependently (IC50 are 15 and 10 microg/mL, respectively). Both polysaccharides had common structural features of homogalacturonan backbone with hairy regions of rhamnogalacturonan type I. Arabinose-rich side chains with abundant branch points were unique in GP50-eHR and may contribute to a greater antirotavirus effect of GP50-eHR than GP50-dHR. Because homogalacturonan itself did not show an antirotavirus effect, hairy regions might be functional sites. Of note, the antirotavirus effect of both polysaccharides resulted from inhibiting rotavirus attachment to cells.

Together with a wide range of noncytotoxicity, these findings suggest that ginseng polysaccharides are viable therapeutic options for rotavirus diarrhea.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Intestine disease
Viral infection