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Saponins of Panax ginseng Rhizomes

The rhizome or rootstock is an underground stem and for ginseng the rhizome yields most saponins in the third and subsequent years. The saponin mixture is similar to that in the roots. For example, Kuang and Xu (1982) reported the presence of nine main ginsenosides in Jilin ginseng including the ginsenosides Rbi, Rb 2, Rc, Re, Rg1, Rg2 and Ro. Ginsenoside Ro, the glucuronide saponin of oleanolic acid, occurs more abundantly in the rhizome than elsewhere in the plant (Table 5.12).

Saponins of Panax ginseng Leaves and Aerial Stems

The leaves yielded the known diol-ginsenosides Rb1, Rb2, Rc and Rd and triolginsenosides Re, Rgj and 20(R)-Rh2 and, in addition, three new compounds designated ginsenosides F1, F2 and F3. The ginsenosides are summarised in Table 5.13. The principal saponins were ginsenosides Rd, Re and Rgj (Shibata et al., 1985).

Subsequent work indicated that the aerial stems yielded ginsenosides Rb2, Rd, Re, Rf, Rgj, Rg2 and Fj, a pattern similar to that of the leaves (Yang and Xu, 1987). Further investigations of leaves revealed the presence of 20-gluco-ginsenoside Rf (Cai et al. (1986) and confirmed the occurrence of the known ginsenosides Rbj, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, Rgj, Rg2, Rg3 and Rhj together with the minor ginsenosides Rh2, Rh3 and 20fRj-Rh2and 20('R)-protopanaxatriol (Chen et al.,

Table 5.13. Percentage saponin distribution in Panax ginseng leaves

Designation

Prosapogenin

Recorded yield per cent

Ginsenoside rbĀ”

Protopanaxadiol

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