The root of Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer (Araliaceae) is a well-known herbal medicine in East Asia. The major bioactive metabolites in this root are commonly identified as ginsenosides. A series of ginsenosides were determined for in vitro human recombinant aldose reductase. This Letter aims to clarify the structural requirement for aldose reductase inhibition. We discovered that only ginsenoside 20(S)-Rh2 showed potent against aldose reductase, with an IC50of 147.3 μM. These results implied that the stereochemistry of the hydroxyl group at C-20 may play an important role in aldose reductase inhibition. An understanding of these requirements is considered necessary in order to develop a new type of aldose reductase inhibitor. Furthermore, P. ginseng might be an important herbal medicine in preventing diabetic complications.
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