Ginseng Information

Description and Uses of Ginseng

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Most Common Name:Ginseng
Botanical Name:Panax Ginseng
Also Known As (other names):Chinese Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng)

Native to Asia and mainland China. Ginseng collected from the wild in Korea is regarded as the best in Asia but this is exceptionally expensive, sometimes fetching hundreds of dollars for a single root.

Ginseng has been regarded as a cure for almost anything for several thousand years. It was widely used by Chinese, Japanese and Koreans for as long back as they have history.

There are many varieties of this herb which are used as different remedies in Asia. Chinese, Japanese and Korean Ginseng are probably the more common but subspecies are found in America, Japan, Himalaya, San-Chi, Siberian (better known as Eleuthero or Eluthero) and many other varieties.

It is unlikely that Ginseng will cure everything but it is becoming accepted as a very significant herb in the West too.

Ginseng Use for/In treatment of:

Nervous tonicBlood circulationStamina

Ginseng Properties:

SedativeTonic Stimulent


Ginseng Constituents:

Below we list reported constituents of this herb. This may not be complete as continuous research constantly discovers new constituents. Where possible we also provide information about constituents and their application, effect and side effects, if any. We do not provide information on the interaction between constituents. We do not give quantities of each individual constituent as these vary considerably due to region and climate. By comparing the treatments above with the constituent benefits below some indication of quantities can be gained.

Saponins: Wound healing, anti-scarring. Saponins occur as glycosides with aglycone structures that are steroidal or terpenoid. Saponins can cause the destruction of red blood cells if injected causing anaemia or worse. Ingested saponins are poorly absorbed in the digestive system reducing the risk of poisoning but care must be taken on dosage as Saponins are mucus membrane irritants.

Many herbs containing saponins have been identified as "adaptogens" also referred to as harmony remedies (see: The Root of being: Ginseng and the Pharmacology of Harmony - Stephen Fulder 1980). Instead of being purely remedial herbs these adaptogens improves and energizes vitality and resistance thereby keeping ailments at bay. It is claimed that these adaptogens can improve mental functions like learning speed, awareness and alertness as well as help with emotional and intellectual stress. As a tonic they will also reduce the risk of infections by stimulating the immune system.

Saponins are also expectorant, anti-inflammatory, hepaprotective, combats cholesterol build up and antifungal.


Polysaccharides: Polysaccharides (Glycans) are polymers that are made up as sugar chains. Polysaccharides making up the gums and mucilages, occur in every plant.

Polysaccharides are virtually indigestible and therefore have little or no effect if ingested. Polysaccharides are mostly inert and the majority are not soluble in water or organic solvents. Most gums will absorb water to the point where they become a sticky gel.

Mucilages and Gums (Polysaccharides): Widely present in the plant kingdom these substances are hydrophilic, being able to attract and bind with a volume of water that far exceeds the mass of the gum or mucilage.

Apart from their propensity to attract water, Mucilages and Gums are virtually inert and also almost fully indigestible. Generally the small amount of digestion that happens extracts very little sugar and no noteworthy pharmacological effect.

Because of this neutrality and indigestibility their value if ingested is that they are demulcent - which means that they coat and protect the lining of the gastric tract, if applied externally they are emollient - which means that they coat and protect the skin.



Administered as:

Mostly the fresh raw rootPowdered rootDecoction

What is?

A CompressA DecoctionA Herbal VinegarA Fluid Extract
An InfusionAn OintmentA PoulticeA Powder
A SalveA SyrupA TeaA Tincture


Constituents (i.e. what has been reported to be in this herb):

GinsengosidesGlycansA Volatile oil 


How current is this information?


Recommended Reading:



* Statements made have not been evaluated by American Food and Drug Authority or similar board or authority of any other country.
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