Ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng)
Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb which has several different species including Korean, American, Siberian and Indian ginseng.
Ginseng root (which is the primary part of the product that is used) is highly aromatic with a liquorice sweet flavour and earthy undertones.
Ginseng seeds can take up to two years before germinating. It’s best to start seeds in pots before planting them in a shady spot. Ginseng prefers colder climates.
Ginseng was discovered 5000 years ago in the mountains of China. The common name ‘ginseng’ is said to mean the ‘wonder of the world’ and it has been called the most precious, expensive herbal remedy. In ancient history, the root was so highly regarded that it was accepted as payment for ransoms, taxes and was literally worth its weight in gold.
Ginseng is commonly used as a tonic for the spleen, kidney and adrenal functions, lungs and as a general restorative for energy to the body and mind.
It has been found to stimulate the immune system and has been used to nourish the blood, improve eyesight and organ function and relieve fevers and headaches. Like ginger, it also calms an upset stomach and is said to be very effective for hangovers.
Ginseng is available as tablets, capsules, extracts and dried roots. 2-3g a day is considered the optimal dose.
Ginseng should not be taken with coffee or other stimulants and should be avoided by people with asthma and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Facts About Ginseng
Fresh or dried ginseng root can be added to Asian dishes and works particularly well in chicken soup. Ginseng pairs perfectly with cloves, cinnamon, five spice, ginger, Thai Basil, rosemary and chillies. Ground ginseng root can be used in tea and soup.
In 2010, nearly all of the world’s 80,000 tons of ginseng was produced in four countries: South Korea, China, Canada and the US.
How do I know ginseng is having an effect?
Ginseng requires some time in order for its regulating effect on the body to become obvious. The healthier and more balanced you are, the less you will be aware of an effect. If your metabolism or inner life is not in equilibrium, you will become aware of an effect two to three weeks after you have begun the course of treatment.