The herbaceous Ginseng root is popular for a wide range of therapeutic benefits. Among the different varieties, the American Ginseng is widely known and recognized. There are many interesting facts associated with this herbal remedy. Here are 6 less-known ones.
1. Not all ginseng is American
American ginseng is just one among the varieties of the ginseng root. The more popular oriental varieties include the Chinese and the red Korean ones, which are known to be warming and more stimulating. The easiest way to identify the authenticity of the product is by checking the label. American ginseng goes by the botanical name Panax quinquefolius while the others are known by Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), Notoginseng (Panax notoginseng) or Nepal Ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng).
2. It is the root of the American ginseng that is used
The American ginseng is a perennial herbaceous plant that produces a stalk every year from a fleshy root. The plant is about 10 to 20 inches tall, and usually has three or four compound leaves that branch out from the stalk. The size of the plant and the number of leaves generally increase with age. However, it is the root of the plant that is the most prized object. The fleshy root is dried, and often ground into a state that can be consumed.
3. A valuable ginseng root takes time to grow
Though perennial, American ginseng is slow growing plants. The seeds take 18 months to germinate. The wilder varieties take six to eight years to develop a valuable root. They do not grow in the open or spaces where other herbaceous plants tend to compete with them. Due its long maturing and growing time, ginseng commands a high price, and also is subject to over collecting. As a result, many states have laws in place to protect the plant legally. This includes regulation in the type of the ginseng that can be sold, its maturity, collection time, replanting, and so on.
4. The taste for American Ginseng is attained
The American ginseng herb, like the other varieties, has a bitter taste that is often not liked by many. However, this taste can be acquired through continuous use or consumption. People of North America tend to consume capsule and pills of the ginseng herb, in order to hide the taste. Asians, however use it in direct preparations like tea, candy, chewable tablets, soups etc., which carry the distinct taste of the ginseng. Some of them even resort to chewing the root directly in order to maintain their body, and to derive maximum health benefits.
5. American Ginseng has ‘cooling’ properties
Traditional Chinese medicine considers American ginseng a Yin-tonic with cooling, and non-stimulating properties. The root has been found to contain higher levels of ginsenosides Rb1, which has a sedative effect on the central nervous system, than other species such as the Korean ginseng. As a result, this herb is able to provide strengthening and immune-enhancing effects without overstimulating, thus being beneficial to people who are troubled by stress, mental stimulation, or those suffer from hot conditions like excess nervous energy, high blood pressure, ulcers etc. It is a suitable choice for in fast-paced and energetic lifestyles that benefit from calming herbs. It is also ideal for young and middle-aged people.
6. American ginseng has mild therapeutic actions and can be consumed in many forms
The therapeutic properties of American ginseng being mild and non-stimulating, this herb can be incorporated into daily meals or routine with little trouble. Those who do not find the taste repelling can consume the dried root as powder or by preparing a beverage such as tea or soup from it. The ginsenosides in the herb are best extracted by simmering the root in water for 45 minutes or longer. The miraculous herb can also be consumed in tincture, capsule, or pill form.
The root of the American ginseng resembles the shape of the human body, and hence it is believed to be an elixir that offers many health benefits in one. It is also considered to be potion that promotes well-being and longevity.
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