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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Medicine Health >> Ginseng

What is Ginseng

--What exactly is Ginseng?
A basic question is a good place to start.

a characterization of Ginseng is its medicinal properties. An herb coming from the Orient, Ginseng is classified under the genus of five or six species of slow-growing perennial plants. Belonging to the Araliaceae plant family, Ginseng has fleshy roots. Using today's technology, ginseng can be found in most herb and alternative medicine shops and is effective in treating some diseases and health problems.

--How can ginseng help me?

To those in the field of alternative medicine, it is well-known that ginseng is beneficial to a person's health. Even so, it is not easy to prove such a claim scientifically. So, what is it in ginseng that makes herb doctors and herbal experts so certain of its medicinal properties? Ginseng is considered to be an adaptogen. Basically, what this means is that while it increases resistance to stress, it has no harmful effects to the body. Due to this fact, many people take a dietary ginseng supplement everyday for their overall health.

--Are there different kinds of ginseng?

Different kinds of ginseng cure different kinds of medical or health issues. Some forms of ginseng are taken to help cure cancer. The most common kinds of ginseng you may hear about include Chinese and Korean Ginseng, Panax Ginseng, Aralia, Schefflera, Tropical Snowflake Ginseng and even Wild Ginseng. Each of these has individual features and different healing effects.

Panax Ginseng is also known as Korean Ginseng. This deciduous perennial is a plant with roots that are cultivated for 4-6 years in order to reach the age of maturity. Ginseng Panax is the most well-known type of ginseng. This is commonly used as an anti-aging herb by most of the people of China and Korea. Panax Ginseng is a popular herb today because it has fewer side effects and no toxic effects.

Not as common as Panax Ginseng is Wild Ginseng. It is not planted or cultivated domestically but can be found almost anywhere since it grows naturally. Unfortunately, Wild Ginseng is more difficult to find now as it is already becoming endangered.

--Is one form of ginseng more effective than another?

Ginseng taken in certain forms can be more effective. Standardized extracts and solid forms of ginseng are proven to have a greater effect. They also are considerably more reliable in effectiveness than other formulations. Here's a great post on the effects of ginseng comparing two different types - Panax Ginseng and Siberian Ginseng.

--How much does ginseng cost?

Prices of ginseng products vary quite a bit. It will depend on the kind and form of ginseng recommended for you by the pharmacist. Types of ginseng usually range between $10 and $100 but can go higher.

Some ginseng roots go for low prices, but the highest grade will reach as high as $10,000 per root. There are other things that may effect the price. Harvesting and cultivating can also effect the price. Of course, demand for a certain kind of ginseng will also raise the price.

--What is the best way to take ginseng?

It's really a matter of preference. Here are some things to consider. For ginseng capsules, plan to take your dose an hour before bedtime. Some people enjoy sipping tea. Tea is another good alternative. However, one should never take all the forms like tablets, teas and tinctures at the same time. This could cause an overdose of ginseng.

--Is it best to take ginseng with food?

The use or intake of ginseng sometimes differs from culture to culture. It is interesting to note that no specific restrictions have been placed on ginseng in terms of food, beverages or any other specific activity a person can do while taking any form of ginseng. Even so, it is a good idea to involve your health care provider in your combination of any kind of medicines and herbal remedies.

--What are the best practices for storing ginseng?

You'll usually find storage instructions on the package. As a common rule, ginseng should be protected from too much light and moisture in order to preserve its effectiveness. With that in mind,It's best to store in in a dark, dry place.

About the Author

You'll find Glenda Fiddler at her medicinal herbs blog. Get more information on ginseng at