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of the unsaponifiable lipid fraction. Related compounds included squalene-2,3-oxide, triterpene alcohols, 4-methyl-sterols and sterols (Matsumoto et al., 1986). Significantly squalene-2,3-oxide can be converted in vitro to 20 (S)-dammarenediol by a microsomal fraction prepared from the hairy roots of P. ginseng (Kushiro et al., 1997). Ginseng fruits also yield water soluble polysaccharides as a mixture of heteroglycans comprising six monosaccharides. Heteroglycan F, molecular weight ca. 1,900,000, yielded arabinose, galactose, glucose, rhamnose, xylose and galacturonic acid in the molar ratio of 5.9:17.4:1.0:4.3:0.3:0.7 and was based on a spine of ^-(1^3)-galactose units with side chains attached at the C-4 and C-6 positions (Lui et al., 1988).

(General reference sources for P. ginseng saponins:- Shoji, 1985 and references therein; Wei et al., 1986; Thompson, 1987 and references therein; Tang and Eisenbrand (1992); for chemical nomenclature see Appendix to Chapter 5).

2) Panax japonicus C.A.Meyer

Japanese ginseng, known locally in Japan as chikusetzu ninjim or chikusetsu ginseng, is used indigenously in place of Korean ginseng as a stomachic, an antipyretic and an expectorant, usage that differs from that of the Korean drug. The Chinese Pharmacopoeia, 1985 lists the dried rootstocks (or rhizomes) of P. japonicus C.A.Meyer together with the dried rootstocks of P. japonicus C.A.Meyer var. major (Burk.) Wu et Feng and P. japonicus C.A.Meyer var. bipinnatifidus (Seem.) Wu and Feng.

The earliest record of its chemistry and pharmacology was published by Inoue in Japan in 1902. He isolated a saponin but no further work appeared until Muryama and Itagaki in 1923, Muryama and Tanaka in 1927, Aoyama and also Kotake in 1930 extended investigation of the crude saponin fraction but were limited by the analytical methods then available. Continuing research by Kitasota and Sone in 1932 and Kuwata and Matsukawa in 1934 revealed the presence of oleanolic acid (Hou, 1978).

Using chromatographic methods Fujita et al. (1962) confirmed the presence of oleanolic acid as well as arabinose, glucose and glucuronic acid. In addition they observed the presence of a small quantity of panaxadiol. Further studies undertaken by Kondo and his co-workers (1970, 1971) using improved methods produced three new saponins which they named chikusetsusaponins III, IV and V. Chikusetsusaponin III was shewn to comprise protopanaxadiol or 20-epiprotopanaxadiol combined with 2 molecules of glucose and 1 molecule of xylose, thus resembling the general structural pattern of the P. ginseng saponins. Chikusetsusaponin IV comprised oleanolic acid, glucose, arabinose and glucuronic acid and Chikusetsusaponin V was shewn to be identical with ginsenoside Ro. However, Chikusetsusaponin IV was found to be identical with araloside A, a saponin previously isolated from roots of Aralia manschuria by Kochetkov et al. (1962). Oleanolic acid-28-^-D-glucopyranosyl ester was isolated by Cai et al. (1982) and confirmed by Peng et al. (1987) who also found oleanolic acid-3-O-^-D-6-methylpyranoglucuronyl and in 1988

^-sitosterol-3-O-^-D-glucopyranoside. Two other oleanolic acid derived saponins, designated Pjs-2 and Pjs-4, were also isolated by Cai and Xia from rhizomes in 1984.

Known ginsenosides Rbj, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, Rf, Rgj and Ro together with other chikusetsusaponins have subsequently been confirmed as common constituents in P. japonicum roots and rootstocks. Structures not previously tabled are presented in Tables 5.16 (protopanaxadiol type), 5.17 (protopanaxatriol type), 5.18 (oleanane type), 5.19 (octillol type) and 5.20 (miscellaneous types).

Quantitative studies of P. japonicus roots indicate that the oleanane ginsenoside Ro is the principal saponin present. Other glycosides occur in very small amounts, being indicated as present (Table 5.21).

The results obtained from other P. japonicus varieties are presented in Table 5.22 and a common pattern of oleanane saponins is apparent.

Saponins of Panax japonicus Rhizomes

The occurrence of this species, which possesses well developed rhizomes, in both Japan and China stimulated research concerning possible phytochemical

Table 5.16. Structures of protopanaxadiol type saponins occurring in Panax japonicus Roots and Rootstocks

Table 5.16. Structures of protopanaxadiol type saponins occurring in Panax japonicus Roots and Rootstocks

Table 5.17. Structures of Protopanaxatriol type saponins occurring in Panax japonicus roots and rootstocks

Table 5.18. Structures of oleanane type saponins occurring in Panax japonicus roots and rootstocks

Designation

Chikusetsusaponin lb

-Glc A-6 Glc A4-Ara ( f )

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