SAPONIN –Special Interest[F1] 














Maple Leaf

Olive Oil


Red Wine










Wild Yam



Saponin –containing foods and herbs and substances[F2]  

Sources of dietary saponins include alfalfa, sunflower, horsechesnut and a wide variety of herbs (Price et al. 1987). The structure of saponins from different plant sources varies depending on the types and amount of sugars as well as the composition of the steroid ring---- Saponins extracted from Agave cantala and Asparagus curillus also significantly inhibited the growth of human cervical carcinoma (JCT-26) and p388 leukemia cells (Sali et al. 1985). Similarly, the fruit of horsechesnuts has been used to treat mammary cancer (Konoshima and Lee 1986). After hydrolysis of the crude extract, two sapogenin components were identified as being responsible for inducing cytotoxicity against human nasopharyngeal carcinomas (9-KB) in culture. Saponins with different chemical structures were also shown to possess significantly different membranolytic activity [F3] (Fukuda et al. 1985, Segal et al. 1966, 1970). In view of these observations, further studies on the relationship of structure and biological activity are needed to understand the mechanisms in volved in cytotoxicity of saponins. Ginseng is a widely used Oriental medicine for treatment of cancer, diabetes and hepatic and cardio vascular diseases. Several in vivo studies have shown that ginseng extract inhibits the growth of different types of tumors (Ha and Lee 1985, Kenarova et al. 1990, Lee and Huemer 1971, Odashima et al. 1985, Yun et al. 1983). The biological activity in ginseng is largely attributed to the triterpenoid saponins (ginsenosides), which constitute 2-4% of ginseng's dry weight. Growth inhibition and reverse transformation of B16 melanoma cells were observed with ginsenosides treatment (Odashima et al. 1985). Specific ginsenosides, Rhi and Rh2, are extracted from the root of Panax ginseng (C. A. Mayer, personal communica tion). Although the only difference between the two saponins is the sugar moiety binding site, their bio logical effects were significantly different. Rh2 de creased the growth of cells while stimulating melanogenesis and cell-to-cell adhesiveness. On the other hand, Rhi had no effect on cell growth and cell-to-cell adhesiveness, but stimulated melanogenesis. Only Rh2 was found to be incorporated in the lipid fraction of the B16 melanoma cell membrane. These results once again support the hypothesis that the biological activ ity of saponins is greatly dependent on their structures. These ginsenosides were also found to reversely trans form Morris hepatoma cells (Odashima et al. 1979). Tubeimoside I, a triterpenoid saponin from the bulb of Maxim franquet was tested for activity against in flammation and tumorigenesis (Yu et al. 1992). A significant dose-dependent inhibition of edema induced by arachidonic acid and tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) was observed. Tubeimoside was also found to significantly decrease the number of tumor-bearing mice and the number of tumors in each mouse through either topical application or oral administration. Saponin extracted from Gleditsia japĂłnica effectively inhibited the growth of mouse skin papilloma that was induced and promoted by DMBA and TPA respec tively without any toxic effect (Tokuda et al. 1991). Immune-modulatory effects. In general it is dif ficult to separate the anticarcinogenic effects of saponins from their immune-modulatory effects. How ever, few studies have looked at these two events as sequential steps. A digitonin saponin, formosanin-C, extracted from Liliaceae and also a component of Yunan Bai Yao, has been shown to have antitumor activity that acts by modifying the immune system (Wu et al. 1990). Formosanin-C injected intraperitoneally inhibited the growth of hepatoma cells implanted in C3H/ HeN mice. Blood samples from these animals showed that the activity of natural killer cells and the production of interferon were significantly increased. However, the mechanisms of the in vitro cytotoxic effect of this saponin needs further investigation. The ginsenoside Rgi from the root of Panax gin seng was shown to increase both humoral and cell mediated immune responses (Kenarova et al. 1990). Spleen cells recovered from ginsenoside-treated mice injected with sheep red cells as the antigen showed significantly higher plaque-forming response and hemagglutinating antibody titer to sheep red cell antigen. Also,. Rg! increased the number of antigenreactive T helper cells and T lymphocytes There was also significant increase in natural killer activity and lymph node indexes in ginesoide-treated animals. It would seem therefore, that saponins induce a series of immune responses rather than a single specific response. Quillaja saponins extracted from the bark of the soap tree, Quillaja saponaria are known to possess strong biological activity partly due to the presence of an acidic group in the steroidal ring. Mice fed with Quillaja saponin had significantly higher antibody production when they were given an oral vaccination of rabies antigen (Maharaj et al. 1986). In another study, it was found that saponin feeding enhanced cell proliferation in the spleen and in the lymph node [F4] (Chavali and Campbell 1987), which was also associated with an enhanced cooperation between helper T cells and B cells. In the same study the activities of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and of natural killer cells were found to increase significantly. This effect was more pronounced when saponin was given before the rabies antigen vaccination. Although the mechanisms involved in the induction of cell proliferation by saponins are not clear, it is likely that saponins affect the environment surrounding the cell membrane by directly binding to its components and affecting changes in transmembrane signals. Interactions of saponins with cell membranes can vary depending on the types of saponins and the cell membrane char acteristics. It is, therefore, difficult to generalize saponins, although there is strong evidence to suggest that they act as immune-stimulating agents. Saponin binding to bile acids. Apart from the more direct property of saponins as anticarcinogenic agents, saponins may also act to delay the initiation and progress of cancer. Metabolic epidemiological studies have shown a strong association between colon cancer incidence and a high concentration of cholesterol metabolites and bile acids in the feces (Mower et al. 1979, Reddy and Wynder 1973). Animal studies also support this relationship between secondary bile acids and colon carcinogenesis (Narisawa et al. 1974, Reddy et al. 1976, 1977). Repeated intrarectal dose of lithocholic or taurodeoxycholic acid increased the fre quency of N-methyl-N-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG)-induced colorectal neoplasms in rats (Na risawa et al. 1974). Also, weekly intrarectal doses of deoxycholic acid for 52 wk increased the number of MNNG-induced colon adenocarcinomas (Reddy et al. 1976). Similarly, intrarectal injection of sodium cholate or sodium deoxycholate increased the incidence of adenomas and adenocarcinomas in rats (Reddy et al. 1977). These observations are important because there is convincing evidence of an interaction between saponins and bile acids (Malinow et al. 1979, Sidhu and Oakenfull 1986). In vitro, saponins were shown to form large mixed micelles (1 X IO8 Da) with bile acids (Sidhu and Oakenfull 1986). Similar interactions in vivo would reduce the free form of bile acids in the upper gastrointestinal tract and lower the absorption of bile acids across the mucosa as well as the formation of secondary bile products from primary bile acids. Normalization of epithelial cell proliferation. During the neoplastic process of colonie epi thelial cells, major zones of DNA synthesis for cell proliferation are extended from the normal crypt base to the middle and upper portion of the crypt (Deschner and Maskens 1982). On the basis of the hypothesis that abnormal proliferation of crypt cells induced by bile acids is either delayed or normalized by saponins that bind to bile acids, mice were fed a diet containing cholic acid with or without Quillaja saponin (unpub lished data). In mice fed cholic acid alone, colony epithelial cell proliferation was increased and the major zone of proliferation was extended. However, colony epithelial cells of the mice fed diets containing cholic acid and 1% Quillaja saponin showed normal cell proliferative characteristics. Also, the abnormal cell proliferation induced by carcinogen treatment was normalized within 7 wk of feeding diets containing Quil laja saponin to mice.


 Saponins--New Cholesterol Fighter Found In Red Wine

NEW YORK, Sept. 8 — Scientists have known for some time that red wine is healthy for the heart. Now, they have found evidence that provides yet another explanation for this effect.--Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have identified another group of chemicals in red wine that is linked to the ability to lower cholesterol. Called saponins, these glucose-based plant compounds are being found in an increasing number of foods. This is the first time they've been found in wine, says Andrew Waterhouse, Ph.D., Professor of Enology (wine chemistry) at the University of California, Davis. --His finding was described today at the 226th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. --For the most part, the so-called French Paradox — the association between red wine and decreased heart disease — has been attributed to resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, which acts as an antioxidant. But saponins could be just as important. --"Saponins are a hot new food ingredient. People are just starting to pay attention to it," says study leader Waterhouse. "No one ever thought to look for it in wine." --The compounds are believed to come from the waxy skin of grapes, which dissolve into the wine during its fermentation process. To better understand their distribution in wine, Waterhouse conducted a preliminary study of six varieties of California wines — four red and two white — and compared them on the basis of their saponin content. --"Average dietary saponin intake has been estimated at 15 mg, while one glass of red has a total saponin concentration of about half that, making red wine a significant dietary source," the researcher says. -In general, Waterhouse found that red wine contains significantly higher saponin levels than white about three to ten times as much. Among the red wines tested, red Zinfandel contained the highest levels. Syrah had the second highest, followed by Pinot noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, which had about the same amount. The white varieties tested, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay, contained much less. Although Merlot was not analyzed in this study, Waterhouse believes it contains significant amounts of saponins at levels comparable to the other red wines. -The study also seems to show a positive correlation between alcohol content and saponin levels. The red Zinfandel tested, which contained the highest level of saponins among all the wines tested, also had the highest level of alcohol, at 16 percent. "We think that alcohol may make the saponins more soluble in wine, but follow up studies are needed," says Waterhouse, who is considered an expert on wine chemistry. -According to Waterhouse, red wines contain about the same amount of saponin as they do resveratrol. But while resveratrol is thought to block cholesterol oxidation by its antioxidant action, saponins are believed to work by binding to and preventing the absorption of cholesterol, he says. He also mentioned that saponins are known to affect inflammation pathways, an effect that could have implications in heart disease and cancer, according to published studies.[F5]  --Besides wine, other foods containing significant amounts of saponins include olive oil and Agave ginseng-sarsparilla-asparagus-tribulus- and horsechestnut to name a  few--The compounds are even more abundant in desert plants such as the Yucca and Quillaja. For the most part, saponins make up the waxy coating of these plants, where they function primarily for protection. --The University of California-Davis provided funding for this study.-Story Source-The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society. American Chemical Society. "New Cholesterol Fighter Found In Red Wine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2003. <>.


Saponin Protection Against Alcohol

 Sept 2 -- A series of chemicals extracted from plants have been shown to block the uptake of alcohol into the bloodstream.  The research results were presented at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society by Professor Masayuki Yoshikawa of Kyoto Pharmaceutical University.  He reported that compounds called saponins found in several different medicinal herbs inhibit alcohol absorption from the gastro-intestinal tract in rats.  Animals fed a carefully measured doses of herbs absorbed into the bloodstream only a quarter or less of the alcohol compared to a control group of rats. Saponins are soap-like substances that have attracted increasing attention from medical researchers.  Saponins are implicated in a wide variety of biological effects including modulation of cholesterol and fat uptake by Agave spp. used by the Masai in Africa and the adaptogenic effects of ginseng used in the Orient. Among the several herbs investigated by Prof. Yoshikawa and his team was the senega snakeroot (Polygala senega var. latifolia), a native of North America where the native Indians used it as a diuretic, diaphoretic (sweat inducer) and for respiratory conditions.  Yoshikawa identified several senegasaponins and senegins that inhibit alcohol absorption   Similar saponins from the seeds of the common camellia (Camellia japonica) and of horsechestnut (Aesculus hippocastrum) and from the bark of the Japanese angelica tree (Aralia elata) were also shown have an inhibitory effect.  These and related species are commonly used in Chinese medicine for a variety of conditions but they were not known particularly for their effect on alcohol absorption.


Gynostemma: According to the scientific herbal research being conducted in the People's Republic of China, gynostemma has been identified as the most medicinal of all the Chinese herbs. It contains 120 saponins (immune modulating molecules that are fat soluble on one side of the molecule and water soluble on the other side) - all of which possess specific, dual-directional health-giving properties (e.g. if our immune system is down, these saponins can modulate it up; if our immune system is too far up, they can modulate the immune response down). Gynostemma is a true tonic, you can take it or make tea out of it nearly every day with benefits that accrue the more you consume it. Gypenoside 49 (49th of the 120 saponins) has been identified as a telomerase activator that you then use genetically.


Saponins have historically been understood to be plant-derived, but they have also been isolated from marine organisms.[1][5] Saponins are indeed found in many plants,[1][6] and derive their name from the soapwort plant (genus Saponaria, family Caryophyllaceae), the root of which was used historically as a soap.[2] Saponins are also found in the botanical family Sapindaceae, with its defining genus Sapindus (soapberry or soapnut), and in the closely related families Aceraceae (maples) and Hippocastanaceae (horse chestnuts; ref. needed). It is also found heavily in Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Gynostemma, Cucurbitaceae) in a form called gypenosides, and ginseng or red ginseng (Panax, Araliaceae) in a form called ginsenosides. Within these families, this class of chemical compounds is found in various parts of the plant: leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, blossom and fruit.[7] Commercial formulations of plant-derived saponins, e.g., from the soap bark (or soapbark) tree, Quillaja saponaria, and those from other sources are available via controlled manufacturing processes, which make them of use as chemical and biomedical reagents.[8]


Tea Saponin

Phytochemical analysis of the triterpenoids with cytotoxicity and QR inducing properties from the total tea seed saponin of Camellia sinensis.

Li N1, Ma ZJ, Chu Y, Wang Y, Li X.

Author information


The tea seed triterpene saponin (TS) from Camellia sinensis was found to exhibit better antitumor activity in vivo in S180 implanted ICR mice and QR inducing activity for hepa lclc7 cells respectively compared with the total tea seed saponin (TTS), hydrolysate of the TTS and tea seed flavonoid glycosides (TF). By bioassay-guided isolation, the TS fraction was separated and seven major components were purified and identified as theasaponin E1 (1), theasaponin E2 (2), theasaponin C1 (3), assamsaponin C (4), theasaponin H1 (5), theasaponin A9 (6), and theasaponin A8 (7), among which compounds 4 and 5 were isolated from this genus for the first time. The antitumor bioassay of the isolated compounds showed that compounds 1, 2 and 3 exhibited potential activities against the human tumor cell lines K562 and HL60. Furthermore, compound 1 (the major constituent with a mass content of over 1%) showed significant QR inducing activity with an IR value of 4.2 at 4μg/ml. So it can be concluded that tea seed especially the compound 1 (theasaponin E1) could be used as an antitumor agent and a chemoprevention agent of cancer. The preliminary structure-activity relationship in the anti-tumor activity and QR inducing activity of tea saponins was discussed briefly.


Effect of steroidal saponin from Yucca schidigera extract on ruminal microbes.

Wang Y1, McAllister TA, Yanke LJ, Cheeke PR.

Author information


The effects of steroidal saponins (SAP) isolated from Yucca schidigera extract on ruminal bacteria and fungi were investigated in pure culture studies. Prevotella bryantii, Ruminobacter amylophilus, Selenomonas ruminantium and Streptococcus bovis were cultured through ten 24-h transfers in ruminal fluid medium containing 0 or 25 microg SAP ml-1 (measured as smilagenin equivalents). The four strains, each non-exposed or pre-exposed to SAP, were then inoculated into medium containing 0 or 250 microgram smilagenin equivalents ml-1 and 24-h growth curves were determined. The cellulolytic ruminal bacteria Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Rc. albus were cultured for 72 h on Whatman no. 1 filter paper in medium containing 0, 9, 90 or 180 microgram SAP ml-1 for the determination of filter paper digestion and endoglucanase activity. The ruminal bacteria differed in their responses to SAP. Steroidal saponins in the medium reduced the growth of Strep. bovis (P < 0.01 at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 h), P. bryantii (P < 0.05 at 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 24 h) and Rb. amylophilus (P < 0.05 at 14 and 24 h), but the growth of S. ruminantium was enhanced (P < 0.05) at 10, 14 and 24 h. The growth curves of all four non-cellulolytic species were similar (P > 0.05) between pre-exposed and non-exposed cultures and the concentrations of total SAP and soluble (deglycosylated) SAP in the liquid fraction were unchanged (P > 0.05) over time. Steroidal saponins inhibited the digestion of filter paper by all three cellulolytic bacteria, but F. succinogenes was less (P < 0.05) sensitive to SAP and more (P < 0. 05) effective at deglycosylating SAP than were Rc. flavefaciens or Rc. albus. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that SAP altered the cell walls of the SAP-inhibited non-cellulolytic bacteria. The ruminal fungi, Neocallimastix frontalis and Piromyces rhizinflata, were cultured on filter paper in medium containing 0, 0. 45, 2.25 or 4.5 microgram SAP ml-1. Filter paper digestion by both fungi was completely inhibited by 2.25 microgram SAP ml-1. Steroidal saponins from Y. schidigera inhibit cellulolytic ruminal bacteria and fungi, but their effects on amylolytic bacteria are species dependent and similar to the effects of ionophores. As such, SAP may be useful in nutritional applications targeting starch-digesting ruminal micro-organisms.


Wild Yam

Neuroprotection of total steroid saponins from Dioscorea zingiberensis against transient focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats via anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic effects.

Zhang XX1, Chen L1, Liu JL1, Ito Y2, He J1, Sun WJ1.

Author information


Total steroid saponins isolated from Dioscorea zingiberensis have shown a variety of beneficial bioactivities. However, there are no reports about their neuroprotective effects, until now. Therefore, in the present study, we explored the neuroprotective effects of the total steroid saponins from D. zingiberensis on rats against transient focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion and their underlying mechanisms. Healthy adult Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to six groups. After pretreatment with D. zingiberensis total steroid saponins intragastrically for six days, the rats were subjected to an ischemia injury by surgery on the middle cerebral artery occlusion for 90min. Compared to the ischemia-reperfusion group, the D. zingiberensis total steroid saponin group of rats, especially those given a 30-mg/kg dose, showed not only a marked reduction in neurological deficit scores, cerebral infarct volume, and brain edema, but also an increase in neuron survival (Nissl bodies) in the hippocampal cornuammons 1 and cortex hemisphere of the ipsilateral ischemia. At the same time, the inflammatory cytokines in serum induced by the middle cerebral artery occlusion were significantly decreased by the preadministration of D. zingiberensis total steroid saponins. Furthermore, the increase of caspase-3 was evidently reduced in the hippocampal cornuammons 1 and cortex of the hemisphere injured brain. Finally, the downregulating antiapoptotic Bcl-2 and upregulating proapoptotic Bax proteins were obviously suppressed. Taken together, the current findings suggest that D. zingiberensis total steroid saponins played a potential neuroprotective role against a severe injury induced by transient focal cerebral ischemic reperfusion in a rat experimental model, and this role may be mediated by its anti-inflammatory and antiapoptotic actions.




Saponins are glycoside compounds often referred to as a "natural detergent" because of their foamy texture. Saponins are in a diverse group to glycosides.  Saponins are mainly of the triterpenoidal type, being the oleanolic acid and the hedagenin the main constituents.  SAPONIN CHEMISTRY: Saponins are glycosidic compounds composed of a steroid (c-27) or triterpenoid (C30) saponin nucleus with one or more carbohydrate branches. 

The proposed mechanism of anticarcinogenic properties of saponins include antioxidant effect, direct and select cytotoxicity of cancer cells, immune-modulation, acid and neutral sterol metabolism and regulation of cell proliferation. Among the chemical properties of saponins, their polarity, hydophobicity and nature of the reactive groups seem important determinants of their biological properties.  



Recent studies at University of Toronto, Department of Nutritional Science, Toronto, Ontario, Canada have indicated that dietary sources of saponins offer preferential chemo preventive strategy in lowering the risk of human cancers. 

One of the most exciting prospects for saponins is how they appear to inhibit or kill cancer cells.  They may also be able to do it without killing normal cells in the process that is the mode of present cancer-fighting drugs.  Cancer cells have more cholesterol-type compounds in their membranes than normal cells. saponins can bind cholesterol and thus interfere with cell growth and division.  While drugs have side effect, many of them serious, saponins are safe. 

Dr. A.V. Rao, professor and researcher at the University of Toronto and his colleagues believe the saponins may even help prevent colon cancer.  Normally, bile acid pours into the stomach to help absorb fats from foods. Some bacteria in the large intestine turn the bile into a substance that is highly carcinogenic.  That is why a high-fat diet increases the risk of colon cancer.  Research suggests that when saponins travel through, they stop the toxic material from forming. 


Saponins are widely being researched for cholesterol control. The blood cholesterol-lowering properties of dietary saponins are of particular interest in human nutrition.  One of the most prominent research programs on this subject was that of Dr. Rene Malinow, Oregon Regional Primate Center that demonstrated unequivocally the cholesterol-lowering properties of saponins.  Saponins cause a depletion of body cholesterol by preventing its reabsorption, this increasing its excretion, in much the same way as other cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as cholestyramine. Saponis have been found to be useful in the treatment for hypercholesterolaemia.  Saponins bind with cholesterol so it cannot be re-absorbed into the system and is excreted from the body.  


Saponins have long been known to have strong biological activity.  When studying the effect that saponins have on plants, it has been discovered that saponins are the plants' active immune system.  Research looks very promising that the effect from saponins are   indeed being transferred to the human body when ingested  


Saponins function as a "natural antibiotic" for plants and now scientists are looking at how they can help humans fight fungal infections, combat microbes and viruses, boost the effectiveness of certain vaccines.  Their natural tendency toward off microbes may prove to be especially useful for treating those difficult to control fungal and yeast infections. 


As we eliminate toxic buildup we have move vitality, health that in turns relates to more energy. 


Symposium, Brussels, Belgium, September, 1996.
Natural and Applied Science, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin
National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Illinois
Saybury laboratory, Norwich, United Kingdom
Linus Paling Institute/Oregon State University
Peter R. Cheeke, Ph.D.
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 
Oregon Regional Primate Center, published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1997
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1990
Richard Lipkin, Science News, Vol. 148, 1995
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1990, D. Oakenfull and G. Sidhu
Understand Vitamins and Mineral, 1964 Rodale Press, Page 129
Masai Diet Wards Off Heart Disease, Boris Weintraub, Geographica
Amazing Medicines The Drug Companies Don't Want you to Discover, University Medical Research Publishers, 1993, Page 219
Yucca - The food supplement that helps prevent and treat arthritis and high blood pressure, Shideler Harpe, Arthritis News Today, Vol. 2, No. 6, March 1980


 [F2]What is Saponins?

Saponins are glucosides with foaming characteristics. Saponins consist of a polycyclic aglycones attached to one or more sugar side chains. The aglycone part, which is also called sapogenin, is either steroid (C27) or a triterpene (C30). The foaming ability of saponins is caused by the combination of a hydrophobic (fat-soluble) sapogenin and a hydrophilic (water-soluble) sugar part. Saponins have a bitter taste. Some saponins are toxic and are known as sapotoxin.


Saponins are phytochemicals which can be found in most vegetables, beans and herbs. The best known sources of saponins are, and some herbs with names indicating foaming properties such as soapwort, saoproot, soapbark and soapberry. Commercial saponins are extracted mainly from Yucca schidigera and Quillaja saponaria.


 [F3]That disrupts a biological membrane

 [F4]Saponin Spleen and Lymph Support

 [F5]Health Benefits of Saponins

Saponins have many health benefits. Studies have illustrated the beneficial effects on blood cholesterol levels, cancer, bone health and stimulation of the immune system. Most scientific studies investigate the effect of saponins from specific plant sources and the results cannot be applied to other saponins.

Cholesterol reduction
Saponins bind with bile salt and cholesterol in the intestinal tract. Bile salts form small micelles with cholesterol facilitating its absorption. Saponins cause a reduction of blood cholesterol by preventing its re-absorption.

Reduce cancer risk
Studies have shown that saponins have antitumor and anti-mutagenic activities and can lower the risk of human cancers, by preventing cancer cells from growing. Saponins seem to react with the cholesterol rich membranes of cancer cells, thereby limiting their growth and viability. Roa and colleagues found that saponins may help to prevent colon cancer and as shown in their article "Saponins as anti-carcinogens" published in The Journal of Nutrition (1995, 125, 717s-724S). Some studies have shown that saponins can cause apoptosis of leukemia cells by inducing mitotic arrest.

Immunity booster
Plants produce saponins to fight infections by parasites. When ingested by humans, saponins also seem to help our immune system and to protect against viruses and bacteria.

Reduce bone loss
Studies with ovariectomized induced rats have shown that some saponins, such as the steroidal saponins from Anemarrhena asphodeloides, a Chinese herb, have a protective role on bone loss.

The non-sugar part of saponins have also a direct antioxidant acitivity, which may results in other benefits such as reduced risk of cancer and heart diseases.