American Ginseng: Panax Quinquefolium

  Panax is Latin for "cure it all."
In Chinese, Ginseng means "man-root" or "man essence." It is so named because the root often grows in the shape of a man and its medicinal qualities are believed to benefit the whole man. This intriguing herb is thought to be one of the most valuable in the world.

What is Ginseng?  


Ginseng is the most valued, revered and legendary medicinal plant. It is a herbaceous perennial herb, grown mainly for its root. The root is similar to a parsnip in texture and colour, although smaller and usually more branched. The plant stands about 10 to 20 inches high with 2 to 5 clusters of a group of 5 leaves and a spindly-shaped root. It takes 4 years to mature it into a useable product.

Studies have shown Ginseng to be effective in:
reducing stress (adaption and resistance to stress)
aiding memory function
increasing physical stamina (anti-fatigue effects)
helping to maintain healthy blood sugar and
cholesterol levels
strengthening the metabolism
boosting immune functions

Why is Ginseng so respected in the Orient?

Chinese traditional health care has used herbs like Ginseng as their foundation for over five thousand years. There are over two thousand articles and books about Ginseng in the Oriental countries which confirm its effectiveness based on their herbal medical philosophies. The United States are just being enlightened through the coordination and concentrated efforts of the Ginseng Research Institute.
In China, the Chinese pay one month's salary to buy one pound of American Ginseng.

What kind of ginseng should I take?

It is necessary to answer this question from a viewpoint exploring the Chinese philosophy of "yin and yang." Health, simply stated, is maintained by balancing opposites called "yin" and "yang." Yang is concerned with heating, energy, and metabolism. Yin, at the other end of the spectrum, is characterized as cooling, passive, and storing. The Chinese have been using herbs such as ginseng to maintain this balance so that more potent remedies - ones with side effects and possibly lethal consequences - are not necessary.
Asian Panax ginseng has been traditionally used as a restorative tonic for the "yin" person. Studies conducted in the United States have verified the different chemical profiles of American and Asian ginseng. American Ginseng is ideally suited for those who are constitutionally "yang," the active, stressed, aged, and those who need to improve their general health. Considering our dietary habits (red meats, dairy products, processed foods, etc.) and stressful lifestyle of American society, American Ginseng is the most suitable for our way of life.
The most sought after Ginseng in China is American Ginseng.
White's Ginseng is American Ginseng.

Who can benefit from taking Ginseng?


Many believe that Ginseng can successfully be used to reduce or overcome tiredness (antifatigue effects), weakness (strengthening the metabolism), poor vitality, exhaustion (increasing physical stamina), low resistance (boosting immune functions), lack of concentration and mental inefficiency (aiding memory functions) and it increases all around resistance to stress. Ginseng's value is mainly as a preventative or an adaptogen.
Traditional Chinese health care has used herbs like ginseng as their foundation for over five thousand years. The benefits of natural medicine are believed to accumulate only by continual and gradual use over time as a base for health and longevity. The effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicines are not easily measured by Western standards because ginseng does not cure a specific problem but seems to harmonize body systems. There are over two thousand articles and books about ginseng in Oriental countries which confirm the results of their herbal medical philosophies.

Ginseng root is classified medicinally as an "adaptogen" (a substance that helps the body to restore itself to normal function) that acts by increasing all-around resistance to stress and strengthens the body's defence mechanisms.
It is not the purpose of ginseng to replace the professional services of your physician. By all means see a medical doctor for any condition which requires his/her services. Ginseng should be considered an aid to medical treatment, not a replacement.

This information is based on research by the author. It is a compilation of facts as he found them and the information should in no way be considered a prescription for any ailment of any reader.
© 1999 White's Ginseng