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Botanical: Panax quinquefolius (LINN.)
Family: NO. Araliaceae

Synonyms: Aralia quinquefolia. Five Fingers. Tartar Root. Red Berry. Man's Health. Part Used-Root. Habitat: Ginseng is distinguished as Asiatic or Chinese Ginseng. It is a native of Manchuria, Chinese Tartary and other parts of eastern Asia, and is largely cultivated there as well as in Korea and Japan.

Panax, the generic name, is derived from the Greek Panakos (a panacea), in reference to the miraculous virtue ascribed to it by the Chinese, who consider it a sovereign remedy in almost all diseases.

It was formerly supposed to be confined to Chinese Tartary, but now is known to be also a native of North America, from whence Sarrasin transmitted specimens to Paris in 1704.

Ginseng---"The King Of Herbs", has been regarded as the elixir vitae and the most precious nutritional supplement in China for thousands of years. In North America ginseng was discovered in the 18th century. First in Montreal, Canada, and then from New England down the Appalachian Mountains and as far west as Wisconsin. For over 200 years wild ginseng was the second largest export from the U.S. second only to furs. This market was driven entirely by Asia and China.

Good old American ingenuity and a commitment to this difficult agricultural endeavor has allowed a thriving industry to develop.

Over harvesting has almost driven wild ginseng to extinction. Most wild ginseng hunters make a practice of planting the seeds of the plant after digging up the root. Even so, the wild variety is scarce and difficult to find.

The word ginseng is said to mean 'the wonder of the world.'

Botanical Description of American Ginseng: The plant grows in rich woods throughout eastern and central North America, especially along the mountains from Quebec and Ontario, south to Georgia. It was used by the North American Indians. It is a smooth perennial herb, with a large, fleshy, very slow-growing root, 2 to 3 inches in length (occasionally twice this size) and from 1/2 to 1 inch in thickness. Its main portion is spindle-shaped and heavily annulated (ringed growth), with a roundish summit, often with a slight terminal, projecting point. At the lower end of this straight portion, there is a narrower continuation, turned obliquely outward in the opposite direction and a very small branch is occasionally borne in the fork between the two. Some small rootlets exist upon the lower portion. The color ranges from a pale yellow to a brownish color. It has a mucilaginous sweetness, approaching that of liquorice, accompanied with some degree of bitterness and a slight aromatic warmth, with little or no smell. The stem is simple and erect, about a foot high, bearing three leaves, each divided into five finely-toothed leaflets, and a single, terminal umbel, with a few small, yellowish flowers. The fruit is a cluster of bright red berries.

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