Subchronic oral toxicity study of Korean red ginseng extract in Sprague-Dawley rats with a 4-week recovery period

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Abstract

Ginseng is a major herbal remedy used in Asian countries for thousands of years and known to restore and enhance vital energy. Korean red ginseng, which is processed by steaming and drying fresh Panax ginseng, is most popular and contains unique ginsenosides, which have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. The present study was carried out to evaluate the repeated oral dose toxicity of Korean red ginseng extract. The test article was administered orally once a day to male and female Sprague-Dawley rats at dose levels of 0, 500, 1000, or 2000 mg/kg/day for 13 consecutive weeks (15 animals/sex/group in the vehicle control and 2000 mg/kg/day groups, and 10 animals/sex/group in the 500 and 1000 mg/kg/day groups). Ten animals per group were sacrificed at the end of the 13-week treatment period, and the remaining rats were sacrificed after a 4-week recovery period. Administration of Korean red ginseng extract did not result in any toxicologically significant changes in mortality, body weight, food consumption, ophthalmoscopy, hematology, serum biochemistry, gross pathological findings, absolute/relative organ weights, or histopathology. It was established that the no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of the test article was 2000 mg/kg/day for both sexes in this study.

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