Ginseng belongs to the Araliaceae family of herbs, which also include parsnip, celery and carrots.Ginseng has a dried fleshy yellow to white gray root reported to contain vitamins and hormones.It has the texture of parsnip and it is branched with root hairs, up to 30 cm long.It is said to be in the shape of a man.Wrinkles around the neck of the plant help one to see the age of the plant.Most roots weigh about an ounce, but there are those weighing far more with rings on the neck of the plantindicating that it has lived for as long as 400 years.Scientific evidence has validated this method of confirming the age of the ginseng plant.However, some unscrupulous dealers in the Orient, will tie cotton around the root before steaming to make it appear older, but it is usually easy to tell those rings which are falsely applied.Ginseng is a herbaceous perennial which produces pale green flowers, when the plant is two to three years old.The erect stem is simple and deep red.The leaves are compound, digitate, oval and thin. It also produces bright red berries.The berries are edible and will sometimes be eaten by small rodents.They taste similar to the root but they hold no medicinal properties.It has fleshy roots with the texture of a parsnip, branched with root hairs and up to 30cm long. The stem has whorled leaves, which are leaves that are arranged in a circle around the stem. Each leaf on a mature plant has five leaflets.Ginseng leaflets are usually oblanceolate.Sometimes there are those which are lanceolate.There are times when the ginseng plant with produce perfect flowers.This means that in each flower there is both stamen and pistils.With both the stamens (the male sex organs)and pistils (female sex organs) seed will be produced.Through studies done in Russia it has been found that the root of the plant will contract to balance the growth of the upper part of the plant, so that each bud is perfectly situated above ground.This also allows the root to remain protected underground and allows the earth to bear the weight of the growing root. Normally, Ginseng will grow sparsely, rarely in groups although a times as many as 100 have been found together.
The root of the ginseng plant is dried and can be used whole, chopped up, powdered, or as an extract. Ginseng tea, soup, candies, drinks, capsules and tablets are made.There are at least five species of ginseng.There are three types in common usage, but there are only two which are considered to be true ginseng.These two both have Panax in their name, and both belong to the Araliaceae family.They are said to be exceptionally effective for medicinal use.The third is Eleutherococcus, often called Siberian ginseng.
Panax ginseng isalso knownas Oriental or Asian ginseng.It is stimulating and it is not recommended for people who are hot tempered and already filled with energy.It provides extra heat and male energies. It is said to be better for men to take this type.
Panax ginseng can come in red or white.The red ginseng turns this color from steaming.White ginseng is more cooling.Red ginseng is said to help our root vitality.This would be used when someone is weak, or in cases of impotence.This is the type to use to increase circulation and sexual hormone production.The use of ginseng for more than a few weeks is not recommended.Usually red ginseng would be used with other herbs.For instance, ginger and licorice will help to calm the stimulation of ginseng.For those who are run down and feel anxiety ginseng can calm their spirits.If given to a person who is over-stimulated already it can actually bring on the symptoms of anxiety and palpitations.Each person needs to be suited to the type of ginseng they use.
Panax quinquefolium, is also known as American ginseng.The two species look alike and have similar constituents, but American ginseng has milder effects.
“The best clinical information on these plants comes from the works of the Eclectics.The Eclectics recommended American ginseng as a mild tonic and stimulant, useful in the loss of appetite, slight nervous debility and weak stomach.Felter and Lloyd described it a very important remedy in nervous dyspepsia, and in mental exhaustion from overwork.They also recommended it in an infusion (2-4 ounces a dose) or as a powder (4 grams a dose) for relieving asthma,laryngitis and bronchitis.”
Those who need to calm down and harmonize their lives would want to take the American type of ginseng.It is more calming and there is no difference in the female and male qualities.
American ginseng carries both male and female traits and so it is recommended for both sexes and said to be the most balanced of the ginsengs.Christopher Hobbs L.Ac also states that it is traditionally used to nourish Yin, clear heat. Increase salivation, and supplement and moisten the lungs.It is good for those who are stressed and overworked.
The third type of Ginseng is (Eleutherococcus senticosus) or Russian or Siberian Ginseng.Siberian Ginseng is not considered a true ginseng; instead of a fleshy root, it has a woody root; instead of ginsenosides, eleutherosides are present.“It contains unrelated constituents to the other two and is weaker in certain ways but it is a remarkable adaptogen” .It is less expensive than Panax.It is not as effective for vitality and well being as the Asian type of Ginseng, as it is not as stimulating.However, it can be taken for longer periods without worrying about the estrogenic and testosterone inducing effects. Eleutherococcus restores metabolic energy, and would be excellent for those who are undergo stress or performance or those who wish to recover faster from strenuous work. Eleutherococcusalso calms the nerves.It appears to be very valuable in the treatment of the mentally ill, both those conditions which come from physical cause as well as psychological.
In patients with brain concussion it has been shown to lessen recovery time.By strengthening the adrenal cortex Eleutherococcus it has been shown to be of benefit in Asthenia, a pathological state which sometimes accompanies schizophrenia.
WISCONSIN – CAPITAL OF GINSENG TRADE IN AMERICA
Although first discovered in the mountains of Manchuria, ginseng is now native to Russia, North Korea, Japan, China, Canada and some areas of North America.Although attempts in Wisconsin initially failed to produce the crop in the 1870’s, due to disease Wisconsin now supplies 95% of the U.S. exports of ginseng to Asia. The four Fromm brothers of the Wisconsin town Hamburg, near Wasau, transplanted 100 wild ginseng plants in 1904.They took the plants from the wild forests nearby and carefully duplicated the conditions in which they had found the wild plants.From this success, Wisconsin is now the ginseng capital of the United States.
Wild ginseng is found in mountainous hardwood forests, and so it is difficult to find.The roots there are between ten and thirty years old and they can grow to one hundred years of age.Around the neck of the root are wrinkles which increase so that the age can be verified.The Chinese believe that the slower the root grows and the older it is the more the root will absorb and retain the medicinal properties and powers from the floor of the forest.Wild ginseng is extremely expensive and most of it is shipped to the Orient.The Chinese prefer the wild roots as it resembles the ancient revered wild herb of Panax ginseng.
The cultivation of wild-simulated ginseng is very risky but can produce huge dividends if successful, as the prices paid are similar to wild ginseng roots.
The method of wild-simulated ginseng is one in which ginseng is grown without fungicide sprays or expensive equipment.North or East facing slopes are chosen with a shade canopy of at least seventy five percent protection.A place with trees such as poplars, and oaks is chosen with moist and well drained soil, and planting is usually done in the Autumn.Soil drainage is essential and so certain herbs must be in the area to attest to this.Jack in the pulpit, bloodroot and Solomon’s seal will be growing in this area.When there is sufficient shading there is not much competitive weed growth.If there is a lot of weed growth it is inadvisable to plant there.Disturbing the area can lead to fungus disease.A rake and a garden hoe is all that is needed to plant the stratified ginseng seeds.
Beds of five feet wide and fifty foot long are suggested. And the seeds are left to germinate until the next Spring, in late April.Over the next seven years natural forces such as rodents and insects and weeds will thin the growth of the new plants but a final population will remain ready to be harvested six to ten years later.