Sunday, December 7, 2008

Panax ginseng C. A. Mey.

Family : Araliaceae

Synonym(s) : Panax schinseng T. Nees, Panax schinseng T. Nees var. coraiensis T. Nees

English Name : Ginseng, Asian ginseng, Asiatic ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Ginseng, Korean ginseng, Manchurian ginseng, Oriental ginseng, Red ginseng, White ginseng.

Origin : East Asia - China


A perennial herb growing 30-60 cm tall. Rootstock usually with 1- or 2-fascicled roots, fusiform or cylindric. Leaves 3-6, verticillate at apex of stem, palmately compound; petiole base without stipule or stipulelike appendages; leaflets 3-5, membranous, abaxially glabrous, adaxially sparsely setose (trichomes ca. 1 mm), base broadly cuneate, margin densely serrulate, apex long acuminate; central leaflet elliptic to oblong-elliptic, 8-12 × 3-5 cm; lateral leaflets ovate to rhombic-ovate, 2-4 × 1.5-3 cm. Inflorescence a solitary, terminal umbel 30-50-flowered; peduncle 15-30 cm, usually longer than petiole; pedicels 0.8-1.5 cm. Ovary 2-carpellate; styles 2, distinct. Fruit red, compressed-globose, 4-5 × 6-7 mm; seeds nephroid, white.


Mixed forests, deciduous broad-leaved forests.

Parts Used : Root and leaves

Herb Effects

Adaptogen, alterative, carminative, demulcent, emetic, expectorant, stimulant and tonic (root); emetic and expectorant (leaves).

Active Ingredients

Ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, beta-elemene, beta-sitosterol, choline, citric acid, fumaric acid, Ginsenoside Ro, ginsenoside Rb3, Ginsenoside Re, ginsenoside Rg2, ginsenoside Rh1, malic acid, oleanolic acid, panaxin, panaxydol, panaxynol, pantothenic acid, tartaric acid (root); Ginsenoside-Rb-1 (bud); ginsenoside Rb2, ginsenoside Rc, ginsenoside Rd, ginsenoside Re, ginsenoside Rg1 (flower); kaempferol, luteolin-7-glucoside (leaves).

Medicinal Use

The root both stimulates and relaxes the nervous system, encourages the secretion of hormones, improves stamina, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increases resistance to disease. It is used internally in the treatment of debility associated with old age or illness, lack of appetite, insomnia, stress, shock and chronic illness. The strong decoction of roots is given in large dosage orally for treating shortness of breath, listlessness, extremely weak pulse, extreme deficiency after a severe or prolonged illness, massive hemorrhage, excessive vomiting or diarrhea. The root decoction is also used alone or in combination with other drugs, in treating profuse sweating and cold limbs, lassitude, anorexia, feeling of fullness and stiffness in the upper abdomen, diarrhea, cough, asthenia, spontaneous sweating, thirst, diabetes, irritablility, insomnia, dreaminess, palpitation induced by fright, forgetfulness, listlessness, and lassitude and blood deficiency. This herb given with Yang tonics is used to treat impotence due to kidney deficiency and to enhance general immunity.


Roots: 5-10 g, decocted alone with a slow fire and mixed with other herbs for an oral dose; or ground into powder for oral use, 1-2 g each time, 2-3 times a day. For prolonged illness, a large dose of 15-30 g is used.


Should not be prescribed for pregnant women, or for patients under the age of 40, or those with depression, acute anxiety or acute inflammatory disease. Not to be prescribed in cases of Excess and Heat syndromes without Vital Qi Deficiency. Not to be used with black hellebore, trogopterus dung, or honey locust. Radish and tea should be avoided because they reduce ginseng’s efficiency.


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