Enhancement of Alcohol Metabolism by Ginseng Berry Extract and its Mixed Herbal Beverages: In vitro and in vivo Experiments

  • Sae-Kwang Ku
  • Jai Jun Choung
  • Jong Kyu Kim
  • Yoon Seok Chun
  • Jae-Suk ChoiEmail author
  • Joo Wan KimEmail author
Original Article



To investigate the enhancement of alcohol metabolism by two ginseng berry (GB) extracts and their two types of mixed herbal beverages through in vitro and in vivo experiments.


Two GB extract solutions and their two herbal beverages were evaluated as enhancers of alcohol metabolism in normal human embryonic liver cells (CL-48 cell line) through assays of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) activity. Cytotoxicity was also assessed in the same cell line using an MTT assay. Effects on alcohol metabolism were also observed in vivo through measurement of serum alcohol, acetaldehyde, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in alcohol treated rats. Blood samples were serially collected at 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 hrs after a single ethanol (EtOH) treatment. A single treatment with the test samples was administered orally 30 minutes after EtOH treatment.


GB extract solutions effectively elevated the ADH and ALDH activity observed in vitro, while no treatment- related cytotoxic effects were found with test samples t concentrations up to 100 mg/mL. Significantly lower (p<0.01 or p<0.05) serum alcohol and acetaldehyde content was observed in samples from treated rats than in those from control rats (EtOH only) 1 or 2 hrs after EtOH treatment. In addition, noticeable decreases were observed in serum AST and ALT levels in treated samples 8 hrs after EtOH administration. HM40, an herbal mixture containing GB extract (40 mg/75 mL of ginsenoside Re), showed betters enhancement of alcohol metabolism through ADH/ALDH activation, as well as related hepatoprotective effects.


GB extracts effectively enhanced alcohol metabolism without cytotoxicity while also providing possible hepatoprotective effects that could serve as a functional ingredient in anti-hangover alternative therapies. These extracts are expected to be more effective when made into herbal mixture beverages.


Ginseng berry Mixed formulation Alcohol metabolism Rat Alcohol dehydrogenase Aldehyde dehydrogenase 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.





  1. 1.
    Jung, T. W. et al. Rosiglitazone relieves acute ethanol- induced hangover in Sprague-Dawley rats. Alcohol 41, 231–235 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Verster, J. C. The alcohol hangover — a puzzling phenomenon. Alcohol 43, 124–126 (2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Prat, G., Adan, A. & Sanchez-Turet, M. Alcohol hangover: a critical review of explanatory factors. Hum. Psychopharmacol. 24, 259–257 (2009).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    An, S. W. et al. Comparison of hepatic detoxification activity and reducing serum alcohol concentration of Hovenia dulsis Thunb and Alnus japonica Steud. Korean J. Med. Crop Sci. 7, 263–268 (1999).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sung, H. M. et al. Effect of a soy-sprout beverage prepared with high-concentrated oxygen water on alcohol metabolism in rats. Korean J. Food Sci. Technol. 46, 616–621 (2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lee, D. I. et al. Ginsenoside-free molecules from steamdried ginseng berry promote ethanol metabolism: an alternative choice for an alcohol hangover. J. Food Sci. 79, C1323–C1330 (2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    McGregor, N. R. Pueraria lobata (kudzu root) hangover remedies and acetaldehyde-associated neoplasm risk. Alcohol 41, 469–478 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wojciech, L., Ewa, Z. & Elzbieta, S. Influence of green tea on erythrocytes antioxidant status of different age rats intoxicated with ethanol. Phytother. Res. 4, 424–428 (2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sanada, S., Kondo, N., Shoji, J., Tanaka, O. & Shibata, S. Studies on the saponins of ginseng. I. Structures of ginsenoside-Ro,-Rb1,-Rb2,-Rc and -Rd. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 22, 421–428 (1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Park, J. D. Recent studies on the chemical constituents of Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer). Korean J. Ginseng Sci. 20, 389–415 (1996).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tanaka, O., Nagai, M. & Shibata, S. Chemical studies on the oriental plant drugs. XVI. The stereochemistry of protopanaxadiol, a genuine sapogenin of ginseng. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 14, 1150–1156 (1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mochizuki, M. et al. Inhibitory effect of tumor metastasis in mice by saponins, ginsenoside-Rb2, 20(R)- and 20(S)-ginsenoside-Rg3, of red ginseng. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 18, 1197–1202 (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Yokozawa, T., Kobayashi, T., Oura, H. & Kawashima, Y. Studies on the mechanism of the hypoglycemic activity of ginsenoside-Rb2 in streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Chem. Pharm. Bull. 33, 869–872 (1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Takagi, K., Saito, H. & Nabata, H. Pharmacological studies of Panax ginseng root: estimation of pharmacological actions of Panax ginseng root. Jpn. J. Pharmacol. 22, 245–249 (1972).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jung, I. S. & Cho, Y. D. Effect of ginseng saponin fraction on absorption of cholesterol and serum lipid components. Korean J. Ginseng Sci. 9, 232–239 (1985).Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Yoon, S. H. & Joo, C. N. Study on the preventive effect of ginsenosides against hypercholesterolemia and its mechanism. Korean J. Ginseng Sci. 17, 1–12 (1993).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ki, S. H. et al. Red ginseng extract protects against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver fibrosis. J. Ginseng Res. 37, 45–53 (2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Park, S. J. et al. Protective effects of Korean red ginseng extract on cadmium-induced hepatic toxicity in rats. J. Ginseng Res. 37, 37–44 (2013).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lee, M. H. et al. Red ginseng relieves the effects of alcohol consumption and hangover symptoms in healthy men: a randomized crossover study. Food Funct. 5, 528–534 (2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Saito, H., Yoshida, Y. & Takagi, K. Effect of Panax ginseng root on exhaustive exercise in mice. Jpn. J. Pharmacol. 24, 119–127 (1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wang, B. X., Cui, J. C., Liu, A. J. & Wu, S. K. Studies on the anti-fatigue effect of the saponins of stems and leaves of Panax ginseng (SSLG). J. Tradit. Chin. Med. 3, 89–94 (1983).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Park, M. S. et al. Korean red ginseng protects oxidative injury caused by lead poisoning. J. Ginseng Res. 34, 132–137 (2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Matsuda, H., Samukawa, K. & Kubo, M. Anti-inflammatory activity of ginsenoside Ro. Planta Med. 56, 19–23 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Yokozawa, T. & Oura, H. Facilitation of protein biosynthesis by ginsenoside-Rb2 administration in diabetic rats. J. Nat. Prod. 53, 1514–1518 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Jie, Y. H., Cammisuli, S. & Baggiolini, M. Immunomodulatory effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer in the mouse. Agents Actions 15, 386–391 (1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Bae, H. M. et al. Inhibitory effects of ginsenoside Re isolated from ginseng berry on histamine and cytokine release in human mast cells and human alveolar epithe lial cells. J. Ginseng Res. 36, 369–374 (2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Wang, C. Z. et al. Steamed American ginseng berry: ginsenoside analyses and anticancer activities. J. Agric. Food Chem. 54, 9936–9942 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Dey, L., Zhang, L. & Yuan, C. S. Anti-diabetic and antiobese effects of ginseng berry extract: comparison between intraperitoneal and oral administrations. Am. J. Chin. Med. 30, 645–647 (2002).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Xie, J. T. et al. American ginseng berry juice intake reduces blood glucose and body weight in ob/ob mice. J. Food Sci. 72, S590–S594 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Wang, W. et al. In vitro anti-cancer activity and structure- activity relationships of natural products isolated from fruits of Panax ginseng. Cancer Chemother. Pharmacol. 59, 589–601 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mehendale, S. R. et al. Chronic pretreatment with American ginseng berry and its polyphenolic constituents attenuate oxidant stress in cardiomyocytes. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 553, 209–214 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Xie, J. T. et al. Antioxidant effects of ginsenoside Re in cardiomyocytes. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 532, 201–207 (2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Zhang, S. C. & Jiang, X. L. The anti-stress effect of saponins extracted from Panax ginseng fruit and the hypophyseal adrenal system. Yao Xue Xue Bao. 6, 860–863 (1981).Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lee, S. et al. Protective effect of ginsenoside Re on acute gastric mucosal lesion induced by compound 48–80. J. Ginseng Res. 38, 89–96 (2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Seo, J. Y., Kim, S. S. & Kim, J. S. Enhancement of alcohol metabolism by sprouted peanut extract in SD rats. Prev. Nutr. Food Sci. 19, 1–4 (2014).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Bosron, W. F. & Li, T. K. Genetic polymorphism of human liver alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenases, and their relationship to alcohol metabolism and alcoholism. Hepatology 6, 502–510 (1986).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Smit, H. F. et al. Ayurvedic herbal drugs with possible cytostatic activity. J. Ethnopharmacol. 47, 75–84 (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kratzke, R. A. & Kramer, B. S. Evaluation of in vitro chemosensitivity using human lung cancer cell lines. J. Cell Biochem. Suppl. 24, 160–164 (1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Cho, S. Y. et al. Effects of chitooligosaccharide lactate salt on activity of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. J. Med. Food 13, 1061–1068 (2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Lieber, C. S. Liver adaptation and injury in alcoholism. N. Engl. J. Med. 288, 356–362 (1973).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Helander, A. & Tottmar, O. Effect of acute ethanol administration on human blood aldehyde dehydrogenase activity. Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res. 12, 643–646 (1988).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lieber, C. S. Alcohol and the liver: metabolism of ethanol, metabolic effects and pathogenesis of injury. Acta Med. Scand. Suppl. 703, 11–55 (1985).Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Sodikoff, C. H. Laboratory profiles of small animal diseases. A guide to laboratory diagnosis. 2nd ed., Mosby: St. Louise, 1–36 (1995).Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Pramyothin, P., Ngamtin, C., Poungshompoo, S. & Chaichantipyuth, C. Hepatoprotective activity of Phyllanthus amarus Schum. et. Thonn. extract in ethanol treated rats: in vitro and in vivo studies. J. Ethnopharmacol. 114, 169–173 (2007).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Bostian, K. A. & Betts, G. F. Rapid purification and properties of potassium-activated aldehyde dehydrogenase from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Biochem. J. 173, 773–786.(1978).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Easterbrook, J., Fackett, D. & Li, A. P. A comparison of aroclor 1254-induced and uninduced rat liver microsomes to human liver microsomes in phenytoin O-deethylation, coumarin 7-hydroxylation, tolbutamide 4-hydroxylation, S-mephenytoin 4′-hydroxylation, chloroxazone 6 hydroxylation and testosterone 6beta-hydroxylation. Chem. Biol. Interact. 134, 243–249 (2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    McCloskey, L. P. & Mahaney, P. An enzymatic assay for acetaldehyde in grape juice and wine. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 32, 159–162 (1981).Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Levene, A. Pathological factors influencing excision of tumours in the head and neck. Part I. Clin. Otolaryngol. Allied Sci. 6, 145–151 (1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Ludbrook, J. Update: microcomputer statistics packages. A personal view. Clin. Exp. Pharmacol. Physiol. 24, 294–296 (1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Kim, K. H. et al. Anti-skin-aging benefits of exopolymers from Aureobasidium pullulans SM-2001. J. Cosmet. Sci. 65, 285–298 (2014).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Korean Society of Environmental Risk Assessment and Health Science and Springer 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Histology, College of Korean MedicineDaegu Haany UniversityGyeongsangbuk-doRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Aribio Co. Ltd.Gyeonggi-doRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Major in Food Biotechnology, Division of Bioindustry, College of Medical and Life SciencesSilla UniversityBusanRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations