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Related to Chinese ginseng: Panax ginseng, Korean Ginseng


ginseng (jĭnˈsĕng), 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 sarsaparilla and spikenard are applied also to plants of other families.

Ginseng is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, 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 ?
In Prescription for Nutritional Healing, for example, James Balch, a physician, and coauthor Phyllis Balch recommend Chinese ginseng as beneficial for prostate health and sexual vitality.
Name: Chinese ginseng Occupation: Reputedly both as a stimulator or sedative, which was so revered in China wars were fought over forests in which it grew centuries ago.Other information: An Arabian physician brought ginseng back to Europe in the 9th century, yet its ability to improve stamina and resistance to stress became common knowledge in the 18th century.
For it contain rhino horn, Chinese ginseng and oysters from de African sea.
There is Korean ginseng, Asian ginseng and Chinese ginseng -- all from the same source plant Panax ginseng, which is native to eastern Asia.