Ginseng has a long history of use as a tonic for restoration of vigor. One example of ginseng-derived tonic effect is that it can improve physical stamina under conditions of stress. However, the active ingredient and the underlying molecular mechanism responsible for the ergogenic effect are unknown. Recent studies show that ginseng contains a novel ingredient, gintonin, which consists of a unique class of herbal-medicine lysophosphatidic acids (LPAs). Gintonin activates G protein-coupled LPA receptors to produce a transient [Ca(2+)]i signal, which is coupled to diverse intra- and inter-cellular signal transduction pathways that stimulate hormone or neurotransmitter release. However, relatively little is known about how gintonin-mediated cellular modulation is linked to physical endurance. In the present study, systemic administration of gintonin, but not ginsenosides, in fasted mice increased blood glucose concentrations in a dose-dependent manner. Gintonin treatment elevated blood glucose to a maximum level after 30min. This elevation in blood glucose level could be abrogated by the LPA1/3 receptor antagonist, Ki16425, or the β-adrenergic receptor antagonist, propranolol. Furthermore, gintonin-dependent enhanced performance of fasted mice in rotarod test was likewise abrogated by Ki16425. Gintonin also elevated plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine concentrations. The present study shows that gintonin mediates catecholamine release through activation of the LPA receptor and that activation of the β-adrenergic receptor is coupled to liver glycogenolysis, thereby increasing the supply of glucose and enhancing performance in the rotarod test. Thus, gintonin acts via the LPA-catecholamine-glycogenolysis axis, representing a candidate mechanism that can explain how ginseng treatment enhances physical stamina.