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
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.
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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