Separation of Ginsenosides in Panax Quinquefolius (American Ginseng)

By: Hugh Cramer, Matthias Nold, Analytix Volume 3, 2015

Belonging to the plant genus panax, ginseng is one of the most well-known herbal medicines. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, but has also become very popular in the Western world. Medicines derived from the ginseng root are used in the treatment or prevention of many health problems including anxiety, asthma, diabetes, headache, stress, depression and erectile dysfunction, among many others.

The unique compounds of panax are saponin triterpenoid glycosides, called ginsenosides. Their potential effects in humans are being studied intensively.

Figure 1. Chemical structures of the analyzed ginsenosides

Separation of Ginsenosides in American Ginseng
We achieved a very good separation of seven different ginsenosides using an Ascentis Express C18 column. The application was first optimized using a ginsenoside standard mixture (Figure 2) and was then applied to a sample of American ginseng root (Figure 3). The seven targeted analytes are ginsenosides RB1, RB2, Re, Rc, RD, Rf and Rg1 (structures shown in Figure 1). The experimental conditions and chromatograms are shown in the table below.

Figure 2. Chromatogram of the standard mixture (50 ìg/mL each component in 82:18, water:methanol)

Figure 3. Chromatogram of the American ginseng root extract


Table 1. Experimental Conditions
Column Conditions
column: Ascentis Express C18 15 cm x 4.6 mm, 2.7 µm particle size (53829-U)
mobile phase A: water
mobile phase B: acetonitrile
gradient: min
flow rate: 1.5 mL/min
temp.: 60 °C
det.: 205 nm
injection: 10 µL
Extraction method used for ginseng root
NSF International
ground plant material:
320 mg (or 36 mg for XRM material)
extraction solvent: 10 mL 50:50, water:ethanol
sonication: 30 min
temperature: 50 °C

Ginsenoside Standards available from Sigma-Aldrich
Sigma-Aldrich offers a wide range of active components from ginseng, including the seven ginsenosides described in this article. Find the whole range of ginseng ingredient standards at Some of the ginsenosides are available as primary pharmaceutical reference standards manufactured by HWI Analytik using quantitative NMR for content assignment.

Reference materials for ingredients of many medicinal plants can be browsed by plant genus on our website


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