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Ginseng's Properties

Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), which includes Chinese and Korean varieties, has great worldwide renown. Even its scientific name, "Panax", alludes to its curative effects. Panax derives from the Greek roots, pan meaning "all", and akos, "cure", referring to the "cure all" or "panacea."

According to Prof Shiu-Ying Hu, the earliest written account of Asian ginseng is from Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (approx. 1st century A.D.). There it states, "It is used for repairing the five viscera, quietening the spirit, curbing the emotion, stopping agitation, removing noxious influence, brightening the eyes, enlightening the mind and increasing wisdom. Continuous use leads one to longevity with light weight." In 1714, the first description of the plant by a Westerner was provided by Pere Jartoux, a Jesuit missionary stationed in Beijing. "Nobody can imagine that the Chinese and Tartars would set so high on this root, if it did not constantly produce a good effect. Those that are in health often make use of it, to render themselves more vigorous and strong..."

Dried wild ginseng

According to the tenets of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the taste of Asian ginseng is sweet bitter and warm in nature. It is a tonic used to increase strength, increase blood volume, promote life and appetite, quiet the spirit, and give wisdom. It is used alone or in prescriptions for general weakness, deficient qi patterns, anemia, lack of appetite, shortness of breath with spontaneous perspiration, nervous agitation, forgetfulness, thirst, and impotence.
Panax ginseng C.A. Mey

Ginseng's ability to boost qi (vital energy) in the body is not insignificant. When a person's qi is completely exhausted, death will occur. For this reason ginseng is often used as a second line of defense in emergency situations especially for shock and coma characterized by an inability of the body to supply enough oxygen to meet tissue requirements and hypotension (low blood pressure). With this condition, a severe depletion of qi has occurred and ginseng along with other herbs can help to resolve that deficiency in a short time.