Chinese Name: Tian qi
Medical Name: Radix Notoginseng
Latin Name: Panax pseudo-ginseng notoginseng (Burkill.) G.Hoo. & C.J.Tseng., of the family Araliaceae
Origin: Dried root.
Taste: Sweet and slightly bitter

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

RESEARCHER'S NOTE: Notoginseng is a fairly recent newcomer to Chinese herbalism, the first recorded usage dating from the sixteenth century. Nevertheless, it has acquired a reputation as a tonic medicine that supports the function of the adrenal glands, in particular the production of corticosteroids and male sex hormones.

THE COMPENDIUM OF MATERIA MEDICA: "Arrests bleeding, dissipates blood stasis and kills pain."
"Treats wounds inflicted by knife and arrow, traumatic bleeding, hematemesis (vomiting blood), epistaxis (nosebleed), hematochezia (anal bleeding), dysentery with blood in stool, metrorrhagia (profuse uterine bleeding especially between menstrual periods), chronic menstrual bleeding, postpartum lochiostasis, swooning due to excessive loss of blood while giving birth, pain due to blood stasis, conjunctivitis, and the bites of tigers, snakes and other animals."

Western Research

Med Chem. 2007 Jan;3(1):51-60.
Isolation, structural determination, and evaluation of the biological activity of 20(S)-25-methoxyl-dammarane-3beta, 12beta, 20-triol [20(S)-25-OCH3-PPD], a novel natural product from Panax notoginseng.
Zhao Y, Wang W, Han L, Rayburn ER, Hill DL, Wang H, Zhang R.
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
Ginseng has been used extensively for medicinal purposes, with suggested utility for indications as diverse as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Herein we report the discovery and characterization of 20(S)-25-OCH3-PPD, a ginsenoside that inhibits growth and survival of cancer cells. The novel dammarane triterpene sapogenin (C31H56O4; molecular weight 492) was isolated from the total hydrolyzed saponins extracted from the leaves of Panax notoginseng using conventional and reverse-phase silica gel chromatography. Based on physicochemical characteristics and NMR data, the compound was identified as 20(S)-25-OCH3-PPD. The biological activities of 20(S)-25-OCH3-PPD and its known analogs, 20(S)-PPD and Rg3, were evaluated in 12 human cancer cell lines. In all cell lines, the order of cytotoxicity of the test compounds was 20(S)-25-OCH3-PPD >> 20(S)-PPD >> Rg3. 20(S)-25-OCH3-PPD also induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase, and inhibited proliferation in breast cancer cell lines, demonstrating its potent biological effects. In regard to cytotoxicity, the IC50 values of 20(S)-25-OCH3-PPD for most cell lines were in the lower microM range, a 5-15-fold greater cytotoxicity relative to 20(S)-PPD and a 10-100-fold increase over Rg3. These findings suggest a structure-activity relationship among dammarane-type sapogenins. The data presented here may provide a basis for the future development of 20(S)-25-OCH3-PPD as a novel anti-cancer agent.

Planta Med. 2006 Oct;72(13):1193-9.
Immunoactive polysaccharide-rich fractions from Panax notoginseng.
Zhu Y, Pettolino F, Mau SL, Shen YC, Chen CF, Kuo YC, Bacic A.
Cooperative Research Centre for Bioproducts, School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.
Panax notoginseng is a commonly used medicinal plant in south-western China. In a previous study, a sequential solubilisation of P. notoginseng high-molecular-weight (HMW) polymers using phenol-acetic acid-water, hot water, weak and strong alkali was performed to determine the structure of the component polysaccharides and proteins. The effects of these extracted HMW fractions on the human complement system, polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) are reported here. Fr (1MKOH), which was extracted with 1 M KOH, showed the strongest complement-fixing activity and priming of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by PMNs, as well as a mitogenic effect. Fr (1MKOH) was further fractionated by anion-exchange chromatography followed by gel-permeation chromatography. 1MD3-G2, the fraction most strongly bound to the DEAE anion-exchange column with a molecular weight of 1140 kDa, showed the highest complement-fixing activity. It is composed of acidic polysaccharides [including glucuronoarabinoxylan (GAX), homogalacturonan (HGA), rhamnogalacturonan I (RG I)], neutral polysaccharides (4-galactan and arabinan), and some protein.

Chem Biodivers. 2006 Feb;3(2):187-97.
Ginsenoside Rd from Panax notoginseng is cytotoxic towards HeLa cancer cells and induces apoptosis.
Yang ZG, Sun HX, Ye YP.
College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, PR China.
The saponin ginsenoside Rd (1), isolated from Panax notoginseng, is used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, inflammation, different body pains, trauma, and internal and external bleeding due to injury. In this study, we report that 1 inhibits the cell growth of human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner, with an IC(50) value of 150.5+/-0.8 mcirog/ml after 48 h of incubation. The drug-treated cells displayed features of apoptosis, including typical morphological characteristics and formation of DNA ladders, as evident from agarose-gel electrophoresis. Flow-cytometric analysis showed that the cell-cycle distribution of HeLa cells exposed to 1 is characterized by a decrease of the G(0)/G(1)-phase and an increase of the S-phase cells, respectively, in a dose-dependent manner. The apoptotic rate of HeLa cells treated for 48 h with 210 microg/ml of 1 was 35.8%. Further, 1 was found to increase the expression of Bax and to decrease the expression of Bcl-2 proteins, respectively, and to lower the mitochondrial transmembrane potential of HeLa cells. The caspase-3 inhibitor DEVD-CHO (at 2 microM) increased the viability of HeLa cells treated with 1. Taken together, our study suggests that ginsenoside Rd (1) significantly inhibits HeLa cell proliferation, and induces cell apoptosis through down-regulating Bcl-2 expression, up-regulating Bax expression, lowering the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, and activating the caspase-3 pathway. Thus, 1 could serve as a lead to develop novel chemotherapeutic or chemopreventive agents against human cervical cancer.

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2006 Aug;58(8):1007-19.
Pharmacological activity of sanchi ginseng (Panax notoginseng).
Ng TB.
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China.
The pharmacological activity and constituents of the sanchi ginseng Panax notoginseng have been reviewed. The bulk of pharmacological findings have been based on the saponins or steryl glycosides, although polysaccharides with immunopotentiating activity, proteins with antifungal, ribonuclease and xylanase activity, and a triacylglycerol (trilinolein) with antioxidant activity have been reported. Protective actions against cerebral ischaemia, beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, and haemostatic, antioxidant, hypolipidaemic, hepatoprotective, renoprotective and estrogen-like activities have been described. Various methods for authentication of P. notoginseng are available.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2005 Nov;30(22):1761-3.
Effects of Astragalus membranaceus and Panax notoginseng on the transformation of bone marrow stem cells and proliferation of EPC in vitro [Article in Chinese]
Yang BH, Zhu LQ, Zhang JZ, Niu FL, Cui W.
Dongzhimen Hospital, Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100700, China.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect and the possible mechanism underlying the promotional effect of Astragalus membranaceus and Panax notoginseng on the transformation of bone narrow stem cells and proliferation of EPC. METHOD: The marrow blood was collected in the patients with ischemia of lower limbs and BM-MNCs were separated and proliferated under different conditions. A. morphologic observation was performed and the ratio of CD34+ cells was measured. RESULT: The shuttle shaped cells lined up as bunches with several round cells scattered. The ratio of CD34+ cells was significantly increased in groups treated with medium (P < 0.01) and lower (P < 0.05) dosages of A. membranaceus and medium (P < 0.01) and high dosages (P < 0.01) of P. notoginseng respectively as compared with control group. CONCLUSION: A. membranaceus and P. notoginseng can promote the transformation and proliferation of EPC.

Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2002 Dec;23(12):1157-62.
Protective effects of trilinolein extracted from panax notoginseng against cardiovascular disease.
Chan P, Thomas GN, Tomlinson B. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Taipei Medical CollegeHospital, Taipei, China.
Trilinolein is a triacylglycerol purified from a commonly used traditional Chinese medicine Panax notoginseng. Trilinolein has been reported to provide a number of beneficial effects including reducing thrombogenicity and arrhythmias and increasing erythrocyte deformability. Additionally, trilinolein has been reported to be an antioxidant, which can counteract free radical damage associated with atherogenesis, and myocardial damage seen with ischaemia and reperfusion. These pharmacologic effects may explain the perceived benefits derived from treating circulatory disorders with the herb over the centuries.