The Ginseng is one of the 11 species of slow-growing perennial plants with fleshy roots, belonging to the genus Panax of the family Araliaceae.
Ginseng can be found in North America and in eastern Asia (mostly northeast China, Korea, Bhutan, eastern Siberia), typically in cooler climates.
Panax vietnamensis, discovered in Vietnam, is the southernmost ginsengs known.
This article focuses on the species of the series Panax, called Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius.
Ginseng is characterized by the presence of ginsenosides and gintonin.
Siberian ginsengs are in the same family, but not genus, as true ginsengs.
The active compounds in Siberian ginsengs are eleutherosides, not ginsenosides.
Instead of a fleshy root, Siberian ginsengs have a woody root.
Over centuries, ginsengs have been used in Chinese traditional medicine.
There is only limited evidence from modern research demonstrating that it has health benefits.
History Control over ginsengs fields in China and Korea became an issue in the 16th century.
Due to the demand for ginsengs having outstripped the available wild supply, Korea began the commercial cultivation of ginsengs which continues to this day.
In 2010, nearly all of the world’s 80,000 tons of ginseng in international commerce was produced in four countries: China, South Korea, Canada,and the United States of America.
Although ginsengs have been used in traditional medicine for centuries,there is only preliminary evidence to date from high-quality human research that it has any biological effects.
Among potential effects are improved memory, reduced fatigue, reduced symptoms of menopause and reduced insulin response in people with mild diabetes,
but the design and quality of these studies were questionable.
Higher quality clinical trials were recommended before conclusions about any effect of using ginseng are possible.
Commercial ginsengs are sold in over 35 countries with sales exceeding $2 billion,
of which half came from South Korea in 2013.China has historically been the plant’s largest consumer.
The root is most often available in dried form, either whole or sliced.
Ginseng leaf, although not as highly prized, is sometimes also used it.
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