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Ginseng and Memory


For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has used the herb ginseng as a memory tonic with the belief that ginseng can improve learning and memory, especially in aging humans. Recent studies have sought to validate this claim. Experiments done on rats have shown that ginsenosides, the saponins of ginseng, can partially prevent scopolamine-induced memory deficits in rats. Ginsenosides are thought to increase choline uptake in the central cholinergic nervous system, which plays important roles in learning and memory. Further experiments have shown that ginseng extracts can improve the retention of learned behavior in young (aged 3 months) as well as old (aged 26 months) rats. The potential beneficial effects of the polysaccharide fractions of ginseng on learning and memory still warrant further experimentation. The favorable effects of ginseng on learning and memory make it a promising drug for the use in geriatric practice.

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