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The Miraculous Mr. Ginseng


(Asian) Panax ginseng, L. Family: Araliaceae Juss.; Asian Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, ginseng radix,

Ginseng Root, Japanese Ginseng, Jintsam, Korean Ginseng, Ninjin, Radix Ginseng, Red Ginseng,

and Ren She.

(American) Panax quinquefolius, L. Family: Araliaceae Juss.; American Ginseng


Propagation/Description: Asian Ginseng is native to mountainous regions of Russian Manchuria (in the Russian Far East), Manchuria, Northeast China, and the Korean Peninsula. American Ginseng is native to hardwood forests in eastern North America. Ginseng is best propagated by seed. The seeds are recalcitrant and immature at the time of harvest. Thus, they are kept moist and require special- handling and stratification treatments till they germinate after about 18 months. It thrives in moist and somewhat shady areas. However, during the winter it might need mulch as the dormant winter roots do not tolerate colder temps as it is a shallow rooted plant. Perfect sites would be slightly elevated with slight gradient to avoid water logging. While it likes moisture, it does not like WET conditions. I have notated some very good places to start to get more detailed information. 

Folklore/History: Ginseng was the most revered of the herbs in ancient times in China, Korea, Japan, America. Ginseng was discovered over 5000 years ago in the mountains of Manchuria, China. References to ginseng are found in books dating back more than two millennia. According to one myth, 1500 years ago, in the province of South Chungcheong, in Geumsan, lived a schoolboy named Kang who had a great devotion to his widowed mother who had fallen ill. Kang went to Gwaneum Cave on Mount Jinak to pray for his recovery. The guardian spirit of the mountain appeared to him in a dream, telling him to find a plant with three red fruits and to feed his mother with the roots. When Kang woke up, he ran immediately to the top of the mountain and found the plant. Kang took the roots and prepared a tea for his mother who quickly healed and got up again. The harvest and trade of American ginseng has been a booming business for centuries. Even today its dried roots can fetch as much as $600 a pound. Without income provided from the ginseng harvest, the early history of the United States may not have turned out the same way. In most cultures they were often used in rituals due to their magical and healing properties. In the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Europe, the Middle East, India, Korea, China, and Japan, around 3000 BC, the use of herbs became more sophisticated where the first written descriptions of medicinal plants were attempted.


Medicinal: While Asian Ginseng is considered the most medicinally beneficial species, American Ginseng is so similar in nature it is used in many of the same ways. It has been used for more than 2000 years and many peoples, considered it a cure for all ailments. It is a powerful antioxidant which antiaging effects. It is an adaptive, helpful in recovery from the effects of stress, illness, and fatigue. It contains vitamins (such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B12, choline), minerals (trace elements zinc, copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, vanadium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus), volatile oil polysaccharides starch, pectin and sterols. It helps the central nervous system, is an adaptogen, helps with mental recovery of stressful situations while eliminating fatigue,  helps with memory and focus, many benefits for diabetes, hypoglycemic, immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, cardio protective, and anti-tumor effects. The difference between the two types is Asian Ginseng is more stimulating and American is more relaxant and antispasmodic. American Ginseng is also more effective treating cold and flu symptoms and Erectile Dysfunction. It is recommended to NOT use Ginseng on a regular basis with coffee or amphetamines as overstimulation may occur. 

Spiritual: Ginseng is masculine in nature. It is believed to raise ones spirits and improve your outlook on life. Some practitioners attribute Love, Wishes, Healing, Beauty, Protection & Lust to Ginseng. Carry it to attract love or lust and burn it to protect from or banish negative spirits. Ancient cultures believed it strengthens the soul, brightens the eye, opens the heart, expels evil, benefits understanding and if taken for prolonged periods of time will invigorate the body and prolongs one's life. Because many ginseng roots resemble a walking man, Hoodoo attributes vitality and strength to the root. For instance, Hoodoo believes that ginseng increases sexual prowess, specifically in men. It also believes Ginseng is a magnifier in Mojo bags. Others describe Ginseng for guarding health and drawing strength and courage and helpful to those who do healing or psychic work. Wiccans believe that it promotes love, beauty, healing and lust. It has also been widely known for wishes. Carve a wish into a whole root and throw it into water to make the wish come true.

Summary: No matter what spiritual aspects you use Ginseng in your practice and life, it is another of our miraculous plants that heal us both physically and spiritually. I have recently started eliminating coffee from my daily routine and incorporating a morning tea blend that includes Ashwaganda and Ginseng. I was skeptical at first to try it but… WOW!!! Usually, coffee or caffeine has a slight relaxant effect on me due to my ADHD, however, this tea blend wakes me up in the morning and keeps me going all day. Less brain fog, Less squirrels, Less easily distracted! I’m amazed by this little man from nature’s ability to effectively keep me focused all day and doesn’t add to my hyperactive brain activity in a negative way. I am also excited to see how it effects my hormonal balance and see if it helps in that area as I approach closer to menopause. Isn’t Gaia amazing in her wisdom!?








The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies, The Healing Power of Plant Medicine by Nicole Apelian, Ph.D & Claude Davis; Pgs. 153-14

Encyclopedia of Herbal medicine, 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH; Pg. 110

The Essential Guie to Herbal Safety by Simon Mills, MA, MCPP, FNIMH & Kerry bone, BSc (HONS), DIP PHYTO, FNIMH, FNHAA, MCPP; Pgs. 433-436



Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham; Pg. 126

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