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Related to Asian ginseng: Panax ginseng, American ginseng, Ginkgo biloba


(jĭn`sĕng), common name for the Araliaceae, a family of tropical herbs, shrubs, and trees that are often prickly and sometimes grow as climbing forms. The true ginseng (Panax ginseng), long prized by the Chinese for its medicinal qualities, was in such demand that a North American ginseng, P. quinquefolius, was imported in large quantities as a substitute. Both species have been all but exterminated in the wild by commercial exploitation. The herbal medicine ginseng is prepared from the plants' dried roots; it is used as a mild sedative and to increase stamina.

The widely varied family includes also the dwarf ginseng (P. trifolium) of North America; the English ivy (Hedera helix), a popular ornamental evergreen vine; the Hercules'-club, devil's-club, or devil's-walking-stick (names applied to several related species) of North America and E Asia, used locally for medicinal purposes; and the rice-paper plant (Tetrapanax papyriferus) of China, the pith of which is used to make Chinese rice paper. Native American species of this family include the wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) and the American, or wild, spikenard (A. racemosa). The names sarsaparillasarsaparilla
, common name for various plants belonging to two different classes and also for an extract from their roots, formerly much used in medicine and in beverages.
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 and spikenardspikenard
, name for several plants. The biblical spikenard, or nard, was a costly aromatic ointment, preserved in alabaster boxes, whose chief ingredient is believed to have been derived from Nardostachys grandiflora (or N.
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 are applied also to plants of other families.

Ginseng is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Apiales, family Araliaceae.

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The root is the part you want. White flowers, red fruit, 4-5 leaves. The most famous adaptogen of all herbs. Taking it for several months to a year is far more effective than short term doses. Used for cardiovascular disorders like heart attack, heart disease, lowers high blood pressure. Inhibits growth of liver cancer cells, helps amino acids become protein. Good for anyone drinking alcohol with a damaged stomach lining, because it has polysaccharides that protect against alcohol induced gastric ulcers. Hormone balancer and aphrodisiac for both men and women. Only herb to clinically test as a plant source of testosterone. Increases sperm count. Like viagra, ginseng enhances nitric oxide (NO) synthesis which regulates muscle tone of blood vessels that control flow to the penis, leading to stronger erection for impotent men, and cardiovascular performance for sports and bodybuilding. Supports adrenal and prostate functions. Leaves can be used also, but root is most powerful. Taking too much over time can lead to overstimulation. Do not take if pregnant or high blood pressure. Women One of the top herbs for stress. Helps normalize hormones, especially those that guard against breast cancer, endometriosis and hormone-driven problems. It exerts an estrogen effect on the vaginal mucosa, to prevent thinning of vaginal walls after menopause, and the associated discomfort during intercourse. It’s an aphrodisiac, helps cardiovascular system, has an insulin-like effect for sugar removal, anti-aging, wrinkles, stimulates killer cell activity, good for viruses, HIV, helps detox radiation, heavy metals, pollution, good for depression, insomnia, mental clarity, memory, alertness, learning ability, Alzheimer’s. Needs to be taken long term for noticeable effects.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Chinese, root of life, literally, manroot; Panax schinseng C. A. May), a perennial herbaceous medicinal plant of the family Araliaceae. The root and rhizome of ginseng are perennial wintering organs. The root is rodlike, weakly branched, fleshy, and whitish gray or yellowish. The stem is straight, approximately 50 cm high, in most cases single, with a verticil on its upper part (a top rosette) of three to five leaves (rarely more). The leaves have long petioles and are palmately compound, with five or seven leaflets with sharply serrated edges. A scape with a simple umbel of 15–20 (average) small, greenish white monoecious flowers with a faint aroma rises from the center of the leaf rosette. The fruit is a bright red two- (more rarely one- or three-) seeded drupe. Ginseng flowers in July, and the fruits ripen in August.

Wild ginseng is a rare, relict plant. It is found in the USSR in the Primor’e and Khabarovsk krais, in the northeast portions of China, and in northern Korea. It grows mainly in virgin broad-leaved coniferous forests. It prefers loamy, well-drained soils rich in humus. Wild ginseng grows and develops very slowly; its maximum age is around 100 years, sometimes more. The weight of the root is up to 400 g. Preparations of the root in the form of an alcoholic infusion, powders, or tablets are used as tonics in hypotonia, fatigue, exhaustion, and neurasthenia.

Ginseng is cultivated in the USSR, mainly in the Primor’e Krai; it is compounded in August and September, when the fruit is completely ripe. Successful cultivation experiments are being conducted in the Northern Caucasus and near Moscow. Under cultivation ginseng develops faster, yields a larger root, and is equivalent to the wild form in chemical composition and pharmacological effect.

Ginseng is cultivated in beds laid from east to west and shaded from the sun by lean-to sheds. Leaf humus or peat moss, potassium salt, superphosphate, and, for better aeration, granite gravel (crushed granite) are added to the soil. Ginseng is sown in early spring in seedbeds; in the fall, when they have finished vegetating, the plants are transplanted to permanent places in beds prepared as for the seeds. The feeding area for the plants must be no less than 20 × 25 cm. Care of ginseng plantings requires systematic weeding, cultivating, and hilling and control of pests and diseases. In dry hot weather the plants need irrigation. The roots are harvested at the end of the growing period at the age of five to eight years. Seeds are gathered after the third to fourth year of life of the plant.

Other species most closely related to ginseng that belong to the genus Panax and have medicinal significance are five-leaved, or American, ginseng (Panax quinquefolium Linnaeus), cultivated in the USA and Canada; Panax pseudoginseng Wall, cultivated in southern China and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam; and wild Japanese, or climbing, ginseng (p.japonicus C. A. May). A complete substitute for ginseng has been discovered—the Far Eastern thorny, eleutherococcal shrub Eleutherococcus maxim.


Gutnikova, Z. I., P. P. Vorob’eva, and I. A. Bunkina. Zhen’shen i ego vozdelyvanie. Vladivostok, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The common name for plants of the genus Panax, a group of perennial herbs in the family Araliaceae; the aromatic root of the plant has been used medicinally in China.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


induces passion. [Plant Symbolism: EB, IV: 549]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. either of two araliaceous plants, Panax schinseng of China or P. quinquefolius of North America, whose forked aromatic roots are used medicinally
2. the root of either of these plants or a substance obtained from the roots, believed to possess stimulant, tonic, and energy-giving properties
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Both North American and Asian ginseng roots, but also the leaves and the berries, are rich in ginsenosides, which are the molecules that generate the medicinal properties and benefits, and which are exclusive to the panax plants.
Wang, "Discrimination of American ginseng and Asian ginseng using electronic nose and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry coupled with chemometrics," Journal of Ginseng Research, vol.
Native Americans knew nothing of Asian ginseng lore, nor did the Chinese know that the Iroquois preferred theirs smoked or chewed, until the French Jesuit Father Joseph-Francois Lafitau, living in Sault Saint Louis near Montreal at the turn of the eighteenth century, happened upon an illustrated account of Asian ginseng written by a fellow Jesuit stationed in China.
"On the other hand," he notes, "Asian ginseng can enhance the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.
John's wort and Asian ginseng, we found that all of them had information on the pharmacology and indications of the herbs.
Kentucky settler Daniel Boone dug up and shipped tons of ginseng roots to the Orient, where it is used for the same purposes as Asian ginseng: an herbal medicine to treat inflammation, infection, and a lack of vigor.
Asian ginseng is not suitable for people with diabetes and Ginkgo and Echinacea can cause allergic reactions.
The effects are distinct from those of Asian ginseng, and suggest that psychopharmacological properties depend on the plant's ginsenoside profiles, said Andrew Scholey, Ph.D., professor of behavioral and brain sciences at the Brain Sciences Institute at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia.
Fifty-eight patients (mean age, 66 years) with Alzheimer's disease were randomly assigned to receive 4.5 g per day of Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng) for 12 weeks or to serve as an untreated control group.
* Steroids such as methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol) or dexamethasone (Decadron) and Asian ginseng, ephedra (ma huang), licorice and senna
The company's proprietary blend of ingredients also includes green tea and oolong tea leaf extracts, Asian ginseng root extract, caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
The ginseng that grows in Manchuria is Panax ginseng, which is commonly marketed as "Asian ginseng." It is used as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent, anticancer remedy as well as a cardioprotective agent in traditional Chinese medicines, but its pharmacologic properties have not been established by rigorous research.

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