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Scientific Journal Reports on Mislabeled Ginseng ProductsScientific Journal Reports on Mislabeled Ginseng Products

June 1, 2001

1 Min Read
Scientific Journal Reports on Mislabeled Ginseng Products

DAVIS, Calif.--A peer-reviewed journal, rather than a for-profit company, has published a study reporting that ginseng supplements may benefit from standardization. In the June issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (73, 6:1101-6, 2001) (www.ajcn.org), researchers at the University of California, based here, tested 25 ginseng products and found a wide variability in marker compound levels compared to what was labeled on the products.

Using HPLC and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, researchers tested 25 commercial Panax and Siberian (eleuthero) ginseng preparations. The scientists, led by Martha Harkey, tested for seven ginsenosides (markers for Panax ginseng) and two eleutherosides (markers for Siberian ginseng).

Tests showed that all products were correctly identified in regard to being Panax or Siberian. However, concentrations of marker compounds differed significantly from labeled amounts. Ginsenoside concentrations varied by 15-fold (capsules) and 36-fold (liquids), while eleutherosides varied by 43-fold (capsules) and 200-fold (liquids). Even though testing did not specifically look for adulterants, HPLC and liquid chromatography data showed nothing other than ginsenosides and eleutherosides in the plant extracts. The researchers concluded that "standardization may be necessary for quality assurance" in ginseng and other herbal products.

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