Panax schinseng, Asiatic, American or Korean
Ginseng is a genus of 11 species of slow-growing
perennial with fleshy roots, in the family Araliaceae.
They grow in the Northern Hemisphere in eastern Asia
(mostly northern China, Korea, and Eastern Siberia,
typically in cooler climates.
you have ever done any hiking in eastern Canada or
America you may have walked right by ginseng growing at
your feet and not realized it, because ginseng looks
like common ground cover. Ginseng prefers the temperate
north or northwestern slopes of hardwood forest areas of
China and America, which says something about
continental drift as plants from both areas have a
Ginseng is Chinese for man plant, in reference to the
shape of the root. The herbalists of China considered
this a sign that Ginseng could enhance the whole of
human health. This is the Doctrine of Signatures found
in many other cultures that says that a herb's
appearance contains clues to its medicinal benefits.
Legend holds that a superior root has the shape of a man
walking at a comfortable gait.
Ginseng as a herb has been recommended for at least
2,000 years so it has stood the test of time. Ginseng
has remained because of its ability to modify favorably
the course of disease or difficulty, specifically
tuberculosis, coughs, nausea, diabetes, indigestion,
diarrhea, kidney degeneration, gout, rheumatism,
suppurating sores, insomnia, leprosy and radiation
poisoning, weakness of the spleen, longevity, sexual
indifference and impotence.
The bodily influences of Ginseng are:
Adaptogen An agent that increases resistance to
Aphrodisiac Stimulates sexual desire.
Cardiotonic Heart restorative.
Immuno-stimulant Enhances and increases the body's
Hepatic Supports and stimulates the liver, gall
bladder and spleen.
Restorative Effective in regaining of health and
The adaptogen effect is because of Ginseng's tonic
effect on the pituitary gland (located in the brain it
is the master gland of the hormone system) and a
stimulating effect on the adrenals. This speeds up the
nervous reflexes and increases analytical and overall
mental performance, while diminishing fatigue.
Ginseng stimulates immune function by increasing natural
killer cell activity. It also increases the rate at
which liver cells generate. Part of its anti-aging
properties may be due to the fact that Ginseng makes
oxygen absorption and usage more efficient.
The panax variety of Ginseng is said to increase male
hormone production. This is the reason its long term
use is not suggested for the females. This has not been
proven scientifically. The tale of Ginseng's origins
are that a childless woman dreamed about an old man in
the mountains with a herbal remedy. She found him, used
the remedy and bore a child. She returned to the woods
and thanked him so profusely that he (who was a deity in
disguise) filled the woods with this miraculous plant
(Ginseng). Also you will find both male and female
herbal combinations that include Ginseng in them.
Panax ginseng should not be confused with Siberian
Eleutherococcus senticosus ). In Russia,
Siberian ginseng was promoted as a cheaper alternative
to ginseng and was believed to have identical
benefits. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus
senticosus) is not a ginseng at all. It is
another adaptogen, but a different species named
"Siberian ginseng" as a marketing ploy; instead of a
fleshy root, it has a woody root; instead of
eleutherosides are present.
Until recently, most scientific research on Siberian
ginseng was conducted in Russia. This research has
largely supported its use to maintain health and
strengthen the system rather than to treat particular
disorders. Siberian ginseng may help the body deal with
physically and mentally stressful exposures, such as
heat, cold, physical exhaustion, viruses, bacteria,
chemicals, extreme working conditions, noise, and
pollution. By strengthening the system, it may also help
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Nutritional Herbology, by Mark Pedersen, Wendell W. Whitman Company, 1998
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 1987
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley