Aralia repens (Steud. ex Maxim.) Matsum.
Panax angustatus (Makino) Honda
Panax ginseng angustatus Makino
Panax ginseng xanthocarpus Makino
Panax pseudoginseng angustatus (Makino) H.Hara
Panax pseudoginseng incisus (Nakai) H.Hara
Panax pseudoginseng japonicus (C.A.Mey.) H.Hara
Panax pseudoginseng xanthocarpus (Makino) H.Hara
Panax repens Steud. ex Maxim.
Panax schin-seng japonicus T.Nees
Common Name: Japanese Ginseng
Panax japonicus is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a horizontal tuberous rhizome; it produces a cluster of one or more straight, unbranched stems usually 50 - 80cm tall, with 3 - 5 leaves in a whorl at the summit of the stem[
A very popular medicinal herb in eastern Asia, where it is one of the species that is commonly used as a form of ginseng. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use and trade, and is often also cultivated for medicinal use, especially in Japan, Korea and China[
The root contains up to 5% saponins[
Although poisonous, saponins also have a range of medicinal applications and many saponin-rich plants are used in herbalism (particularly as emetics, expectorants and febrifuges) or as sources of raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry. Saponins are also found in a number of common foods, such as many beans.
Saponins have a quite bitter flavour and are in general poorly absorbed by the human body, so most pass through without harm. They can be removed by carefully leaching in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of raw foods that contain saponins.
Saponins are much more toxic to many cold-blooded creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish and make them easy to catch[
E. Asia - Korea, Japan
Forests, forests in valleys; at elevations from 1,200 - 3,600 metres[
].Woods in mountains all over Japan[
|Other Uses Rating
Requires a moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland[
The roots of all the various Panax species are used medicinally. They are considered to be most effective if harvested when around 6 - 7 years old[
This species has 24 chromosomes, which makes it quite distinct from Panax ginseng which has 44 chromosomes[
The roots are used as a flavouring in teas and liqueurs[
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
The roots of all the various species in the genus Panax are known to be rich sources of a range of medicinally active compounds, especially saponins. All of the species, especially those in eastern Asia, are highly valued for their medicinal virtues. The best-known species in the genus (Panax ginseng) has a history of medicinal use going back many centuries. The other species are also valued in their own right, as well as often also being used and labelled as ginseng.
A decoction of the root is expectorant, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic[
The root contains up to 5% saponins and it might be possible to utilize them as a soap[
An extract of the root is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as an emollient, hair conditioner, skin conditioner 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.