Korean Ginseng Gets Approved for a Functional Ingredient for Bone Health

by Tulip Chakraborty
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Ginseng, one of the most popular herbal therapeutics in the world has been used in traditional Asian medicines for centuries. Ginseng comprises two compounds: ginsenosides and gintonin, which complement each other to provide a multitude of potential health benefits, including lowering inflammation and improving brain function. Among the different varieties of ginseng available in the market, Korean ginseng has a history dating back to around 1,500 years. It is touted as one of Korea’s most famous agricultural products for its phenomenal quality.

By T. Chakraborty, Ph.D.

On September 11th, The Korea Ginseng Association announced that the Korean ginseng had been registered as a functional and publicly listed ingredient for bone health by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) as of July. This news is expected to bring further focus on the development of healthy functional foods using ginseng alongside increasing accessibility for ginseng consumption globally [1].

The Korea Ginseng association falls under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Livestock and is dedicated to help and enhance the profits of shareholders in the ginseng industry by fostering sustainable growth of the industry and globalizing the Korean ginseng.

MFDS, which is the central government agency responsible for advancing public health, ensuring safety and performing administrative tasks related to medicines, medical devices, cosmetics, health functional foods among others, further clarified that as long as manufacturers stick to the specific standards and regulations, they can develop related products. Data from human clinical research conducted by the Rural Development Administration in the year 2019 backs up the announcement from MFDS. Results from the study confirmed that the study group given ginseng extracts showed a higher (11.6 times) osteocalcin (which is a bone structure marker) and at least three times higher increase in calcium than the control group [1].

Additionally, in their announcement MFDS further added a publicly listed functional property for Korean ginseng, which they haven’t in the last 16 years. The list has been expanded to include also the immune system boost, improved bone health, and fatigue recovery. To be classified as a publicly listed functional ingredient for bone health, ginseng needs to include a cumulative of 25 mg of ginsenoside and comprise both, Rg1 and Rb1.

Mr. Jang, manager of the Korea Ginseng Association said “We now have evidence to believe that accessibility to ginseng will increase and open up opportunities to develop various health functional foods as ginseng is now recognized as a publicly listed functional ingredient. We hope more people can improve their bone health through consuming ginseng”. [1]

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