Home > Herbal Glossary > Chinese Herb List > Radix Notoginseng
>>Where Does It Grow?
>>Nature and Flavor
>>Identified Active Components / Major Chemical
>>Drug actions in TCM
>>Traditional Uses in TCM
>>Pharmacological Actions
>>Administration and Dosage
>>Adverse Effect, Side Effects and Cautions
San Qi
Latin Name: Radix Notoginseng
Common Name: Notoginseng / Pseudoginseng
Scientific Name: Panax notoginseng (Burk.)
Chinese Name: 三七 / 田七
Pinyin Name: san qi / tian qi
The root of Panax notoginseng (Burk.) F. H. Chen, a perennial herbage of the Araliaceae family.
Where Does It Grow?
Notoginseng is mainly grown in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces of China. Nowadays, the supply is sourced from cultivation.
Nature and Flavor
Notoginseng is sweet and slightly bitter in flavors, warm in nature, and mainly manifests its therapeutic actions in the liver and stomach meridians.
Identified Active Components/ Major Chemical Constituents 
Notoginseng and ginseng have many similar components, as they belong to the same genus. Important components of notoginseng are saponins, favonosides, polysaccarides and amino acids. The herb is rich in saponins including notoginsenosides A-E, G-N, U, R1-R4, R6 & R7; ginsenosides Rb1, Rb2, Rd, Re, Rg1, Rg2, Rh1, Rh4 & U; 20-O-glucoginsenoside Rf; dannar-20(22)-ene-3β,12β,25-triol-6-O-β-D-glucopyranoside; gypenoside XVII. The favonosides include quercetin. The polysaccarides include sanchian A. Others are notoginsenic acidβ-sophoroside, dencichine, β-sitosterol, daucosterol, panaxydol and panaxynol.
Drug actions in TCM
Notoginseng promotes blood circulation, releases blood stasis, stops bleeding and relieves pain.
Traditional Uses in TCM
1. Notoginseng has a significant action on bleeding disorders. For any bleeding that starts in the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, nasal cavity, bladder, uterus or wounds, using notoginseng alone can stop the bleeding effectively. During application, physicians like to use it along with other herbs, as the remedies are tailor-made to individual conditions. For example, bleeding accompanied with night sweats, irritability, warm palms and soles, red cheeks and thirst are indicated for clearing the virtual heat, notoginseng is used with rehmannia root and yerbadetajo herb; bleeding accompanied with general weakness and coldness are indicated for warming the blood, notoginseng is used with Chinese mugwort leaf and processed ginger; bleeding accompanied with fatigue and breath shortness are indicated for replenishing qi (vital energy), notoginseng is used with astragalus root and pilose asiabell root. For a major bleeding that leads to unconsciousness, notoginseng is used with ginseng and aconite root for emergency. In case of bleeding due to injuries, notoginseng, resinous secretion and fossil bone are ground together and applied topically.
2. Notoginseng is an important ingredient for traumatic injuries. Besides using to stop bleeding, it can also relieve pain and swelling so as to promote healing. The herb is commonly prescribed for various internal and external remedies.

Modern TCM also uses notoginseng to treat coronary heart disease, ischemic cerebrovascular disease, stroke sequelae, hyperlipemia and chronic hepatitis.
Pharmacological Actions

The pharmacological actions of notoginseng include controlling bleeding, promoting cardiovascular flow, regulating cerebral and nervous systems, hepatoprotective, immunoregulatory and anti-aging.


Anti-platelet effect

In vitro study
Study was done to explore the anti-platelet effects of one of the constituent of notoginseng, ginsenoside-2A. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) was prepared from venous blood samples of patients with essential hypertension were incubated with ginsenoside-2A. The maximal platelet aggregation rate (PAG) of PRP induced by ADP was observed. Results show that ginsenoside-2A could inhibit PAG in essential hypertension patients and indicate that it had anti-platelet effect.


Hemoststic effect

Animal study
The hemostatic effects of notoginseng were evaluated using a hemorrhagic rat model. Rats were divided into four groups, and their tails were transected 5 mm from the tip. Group 1 received no treatment and served as control, Group 2 received placebo (flour), group 3 received ground notoginseng, and group 4 received a saponin extract of notoginseng. The total bleeding time was determined and compared between groups. The notoginseng and saponin extract group had lower bleeding times than the control or placebo group. Notoginseng and its saponin extract exert hemostatic effects when applied externally.


Immunomodulatory effect

Animal study
Studies have found that the total saponin in notoginseng caused a marked increase in serum complement and hemolysin levels, especially in immuno-deficient animal models. On the other hand, the polysaccharides of notoginseng stimulated T lymphocyte proliferation both in vivo and in vitro. Notoginseng can also promote antibody formation and interleukin production and therefore can be potentially developed into a therapeutic drug for some immuno-deficient disease.


Protection of cerebral and nervous system

Animal study
This study is to observe the protective effect of notoginseng saponins against pathological lesion of cholinergic neuron in rat model with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The numbers of cholinergic neuron in brain were determined by immunohistochemistry analysis. Results show that saponins of notoginseng could reduce the pathological lesion of cholinergic neuron compared with those of control group's rats.


Hepatoprotective effect

Animal study
Study has investigated the antioxidant effects of the extract of notoginseng against chronic ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity in mice. Notoginseng ameliorated the rise of enzyme activities of Serum Glutamic-Oxaloacetic Transaminase (sGOT) and serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (sGPT) induced by chronic ethanol administration. In a separate study, notoginseng inhibited the lipid peroxidation in the mouse liver homogenate induced by ethanol. These findings indicate that notoginseng is an efficacious cytoprotective agent against chronic ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity.


Analgesia effect

Animal study
This study compared the analgesia effects of total saponins of Panax notoginseng (PNS) and electroacupuncture (EA). Liquid paraffin was intraperitoneally injected to establish the animal model with inflammation and pain. The mice were randomly divided into 4 groups with different treatments for 7 days: EA group, PNS group, Naloxone plus PNS group and EA plus PNS group. The results showed that in PNS, EA and EA plus PNS group, the pain thresholds were elevated significantly.

Administration and Dosage
Notoginseng is usually taken in powder form, 1~1.5g each time and one or twice daily. It can also be decocted or prepared as pill, 3~9g each time. For topical use, grind proper amount to apply or paste on the wound.
Adverse Effect, Side Effects and Cautions
Not recommended for pregnant women. Yin deficiency and those who tend to develop gum swelling and oral sores are also not suitable.

1. 雷載權主編《中藥學》上海科學技術出版社,2000年6月.
2. 趙中振,蕭培根主編《當代藥用植物典》香港賽馬會中藥研究院有限公司,2006年8月.
3. 陶御風編著《臨証本草》人民衛生出版社,2005年5月.
4. 沈丕安編著《補益中藥的臨床運用》第二軍醫大學出版社,2008年8月.
5. Chen J, Chen T, ed. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Art of Medicine Press, 2004.
6. Nie DN, et al. Experimental study on anti-platelet effects of ginsenoside -2A in vitro. Zhongguo Zhong xi yi jie he za zhi Zhongguo Zhongxiyi jiehe zazhi. 2006 Jun; 26 Suppl: 83-85.
7. White CM, et al. An evaluation of the hemostatic effect of externally applied notoginseng and notoginseng total saponins. J Clin Pharmacol 2000; 40: 1150–1153.
8. Li, Xiao-Yu. Immunomodulating Chinese herbal medicines. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 1991; 86, suppl.2: 159-164.
9. Zhong Z, et al. Protective effects of Panax notoginseng saponins against pathological lesion of cholinergic neuron in rat model with Alzheimer's disease. Zhong Yao Cai. 2005; 28, 2: 119-122.
10. Lin CF, et al. Protection by hot water extract of Panax notoginseng on chronic ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity. Phytother Res 2003; 17: 1119-1122.
11. Wang, Y.L. et al. Effects and mechanism of total saponins of Panax Notoginseng on anti-inflammation and analgesia. Chung Kuo Chung His I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih; 14: 35-36, 5-6.