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Saponins of Panax pseudoginseng subsp. japonicus Stems and Leaves

Yahara et al. (1977, 1978) noted that, although the oleanane saponins ginsenoside Ro and chikusetsusaponin IV were dominant, there were variations in the saponin pattern of wild ginseng aerial parts growing in Japanese island sites in Hiroshima (south Honshu), Niigata (northwest Honshu) and Tottori (southwest Honshu) (Table 5.24).

This generally agreed with the later observations that Japanese ginseng leaves contained high concentrations of the oleanane Ro-type ginsenosides and panaxadiol ginsenosides (Lui and Staba, 1980).

In 1984 Yang et al., studying the leaf saponins of P. japonicus var. major collected in the Qin Ling mountains of China, reported nine compounds; the dominant pair were the oleananes ginsenoside Ro and chikusetsusaponin IVa and also present were the protopanaxadiol-type ginsenosides Rd, Rbj (trace only) and Rb3, the protopanaxatriol-type 20-O-gluco-ginsenoside Rf and notoginsenoside R2, and the ocotillol-type saponins majonosides Rj and R2. Three years later Feng et al. (1987) reported the presence of ginsenosides Rd (0.26%), Re (0.10%), Rgj (0.032%), Rg2 (0.032%) and F2 (0.16%) together with four new dammarene saponins designated majorosides Fj (0.21%), F2 (0.063%), F3 (0.023%) and F4 (0.063%). Two further minor saponins, majorosides F5 and F6 were described later by the same group (Wang et al., 1989a). They also investigated the dried leaves of P. japonicus var. bipinnatifidus (Seem.) Wu and Feng and isolated the known saponins ginsenosides Rb1, Rb3, Rd, Re, Rg2, F1, F2 and F3, 24(S)-pseudoginsenoside F11, majoroside F1 and the flavone panasenoside as well as two new dammarene saponins bipinnatifidusosides Fj and F2 (Wang et al., 1989b). Examining leaves of P. japonicus elegantior var. major, Liu et al. (1989) reported three dammarane saponins, ginsenosides Rd (0.5%), Rgj (0.016%) and Rg2 (0.025%).

Leaves of P. pseudoginseng subsp. himalaicus also the yielded long-chain aliphatic derivatives hentriacontane, hexadecyl palmitate, dotriacontanyl palmitate, dotriacontanol, dotriacontanoic acid as well as oleanolic acid, p-sitosterol, and bis-(2-ethylheptyl)-phthalate (Shukla and Thakur, 1989).

The true status of P. japonicus and its subspecies and varieties needs clarification. The on-going revision of the taxonomy of the Panax spp. may indicate that the chemical variation is due to factors such as species variation, growth location or chemical races (General reference sources for P. japonicus saponins:- Shoji, 1985 and references therein; Thompson, 1987 and references therein; Tang and Eisenbrand (1992) and references therein; for chemical nomenclature see Appendix to Chapter 5).

3) Panax notoginseng (Burk.) F.H.Chen=P. pseudoginseng Wallich

Sanchi or Tienchi ginseng, a species indigenous to northeastern China, was investigated for saponins by Kondo, Shoji and Tanaka (1973); they isolated 8 saponins, designating them A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. Saponins A and D were characterised as chikusetsu saponin V (=ginsenoside Ro) and ginsenoside Rb respectively. Lui and Staba (1980), comparing the common ginsengs of Canadian, American, Chinese, Japanese and Korean origin, stated that Sanchi ginseng contained the highest total ginsenoside concentration. The total yield of saponins from P. pseudoginseng=P. notoginseng roots as measured by TLC and colorimetry was 8.19 per cent of which 2.21 per cent comprised ginsenosides Rb and 4.30 per cent ginsenosides Rg (Wang et al, 1982). Common ginsenosides occurring in this species comprised ginsenosides Rbj, Rd, Re, 20-gluco-Rf and Rhj and gypenoside XVII (Besso et al., 1981; Zhou et al., 1981). New dammarane saponins from the Sanchi roots included notoginsenosides R1 and R2 and the ginsenosides Rg2 and Rhx (Zhou et al., 1981). Further isolations included the minor compounds notoginsennsides R3, R4 and R6 (Matsuura et al., 1983), notoginsenoside R7 (panaxadiol-3-O-^-D-glucopyranoside) together with the known polyacetylene compound panaxytriol (Zhao et al., 1993) and two minor epimeric dammarane saponins named notoginsenosides R8 and R9 were also isolated from roots by Zhao et al. (1996). Wei et al. (1985) reported two new compounds from the rootlets and recorded their names as sanchinosides B1 and B2. The latter compound was shewn to be the known ginsenoside Rh1 but the former was based on a new sapogenin, dammar-20(22)- ene-3^,12^,6a,25-tetrol, and sanchinoside B1 was defined as dammar-20(22)- ene-3^,12^,25-triol-6-O-^-D-glucopyranoside. Thus, in addition to the established sapogenins 20(Sj-panaxadiol and 20(S)-panaxatriol, P. notoginseng roots and rhizomes also contain the sapogenins 20(R)-protopanaxatriol, 20(R)-dammarane-3^,12^,20,25-tetrol (5-15) and dammar-20(22)-ene-3^,12^,26-triol (5-16)(Wei etal.. 1 984c1.

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