Aralia ginseng (C.A.Mey.) Baill.
Panax verus Oken
Common Name: Ginseng
Panax ginseng is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a stout tuberous rhizome; it produces a cluster of one or more unbranched stems around 30 - 60cm tall, with 3 - 6 leaves in a whorl at the summit of each stem[
Ginseng is one of the World's most renowned medicinal herbs, widely used in eastern Asia where it is valued as a stimulant, tonic and general improver of the health. It is harvested in large quantities from the wild and is also often cultivated, both within its native range and in many other temperate countries. It is often traded from local to internaltiona markets[
E. Asia - Russian Far East, eastern China, Korea
]. Mixed forests, deciduous broad-leaved forests[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Panax ginseng is a moderately cold-hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -20°c when fully dormant.
Requires a moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland[
Ginseng is widely cultivated and also collected from the wild in the Orient for its root which is commonly used as a medicine[
]. The root is prepared in a number of different ways, including by steaming it for 4 hours in wicker baskets over boiling water[
Root - chewed. This probably refers to its medicinal uses.
A tea is made from the root.
Ginseng has a history of herbal use going back over 5,000 years[
]. It is one of the most highly regarded of herbal medicines in the Orient, where it has gained an almost magical reputation for being able to promote health, general body vigour and also to prolong life[
The root is adaptogen, alterative, carminative, demulcent, emetic, expectorant, stimulant and tonic[
]. It both stimulates and relaxes the nervous system, encourages the secretion of hormones, improves stamina, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increases resistance to disease[
]. It is used internally in the treatment of debility associated with old age or illness, lack of appetite, insomnia, stress, shock and chronic illness[
Ginseng is not normally prescribed for pregnant women, or for patients under the age of 40, or those with depression, acute anxiety or acute inflammatory disease[
]. It is normally only taken for a period of 3 weeks[
]. Excess can cause headaches, restlessness, raised blood pressure and other side effects, especially if it is taken with caffeine, alcohol, turnips and bitter or spicy foods[
The roots are harvested in the autumn, preferably from plants 6 - 7 years old, and can be used fresh or dried[
The leaf is emetic and expectorant[
A dose of 10ug/ml of ginseng saponins has been shown to be significantly radio-protective when it is administered prior to gamma-irradiation[
Panax ginseng is a very popular tonic and healing herb, and various parts of the plant are used as beneficial additions to a range of commercial cosmetic products. The seeds, buds, flowers are used as antioxidants, astringents, emollients, humectants skin conditioners and protectors[
An extract of the leaves is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an emollient, hair conditioner, skin protector and tonic[
Seed - sow in a shady position in a cold frame preferably as soon as it is ripe, otherwise as soon as the seed is obtained. It can be very slow and erratic to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse or frame for at least their first winter. Make sure the pots are deep enough to accommodate the roots. Plant out into their permanent positions in late summer.
Division in spring.