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Panax ginseng - C.A.Mey.                
Common Name Ginseng, Chinese ginseng
Family Araliaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Side effects include inability to fall asleep, increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Overuse or prolonged use may cause over stimulation (diarrhoea, nervousness, skin eruption). Caution with other stimulants needed. Avoid in patients with psychosis and manic disorders. Not recommended during pregnancy and breast feeding [301].
Habitats Mountain forests[165, 178].
Range E. Asia - China, Korea.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Panax ginseng is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.7 m (2ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms Aralia ginseng. Panax chin-seng. Panax verus.
Panax ginseng Ginseng, Chinese ginseng

Panax ginseng Ginseng, Chinese ginseng
Woodland Garden Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Root.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Root - chewed. This probably refers to its medicinal uses. A tea is made from the root.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Adaptogen;  Antianxiety;  Anticholesterolemic;  Appetizer;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Hypoglycaemic;  Nervine;  Tonic.

Ginseng has a history of herbal use going back over 5,000 years[238]. It is one of the most highly regarded of herbal medicines in the Orient, where it has gained an almost magical reputation for being able to promote health, general body vigour and also to prolong life[218]. The root is adaptogen, alterative, carminative, demulcent, emetic, expectorant, stimulant and tonic[165, 176, 178, 218]. It 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[238]. It is used internally in the treatment of debility associated with old age or illness, lack of appetite, insomnia, stress, shock and chronic illness[238]. Ginseng is not normally prescribed for pregnant women, or for patients under the age of 40, or those with depression, acute anxiety or acute inflammatory disease[238]. It is normally only taken for a period of 3 weeks[238]. Excess can cause headaches, restlessness, raised blood pressure and other side effects, especially if it is taken with caffeine, alcohol, turnips and bitter or spicy foods[238]. The roots are harvested in the autumn, preferably from plants 6 - 7 years old, and can be used fresh or dried[238]. A dose of 10ug/ml of ginseng saponins has been shown to be significantly radio-protective when it is administered prior to gamma-irradiation[218]. The leaf is emetic and expectorant[218]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Panax ginseng for lack of stamina (see [302] for critics of commission E).
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Requires a moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland[200]. Ginseng is widely cultivated and also collected from the wild in the Orient for its root which is commonly used as a medicine[178]. The root is prepared in a number of different ways, including by steaming it for 4 hours in wicker baskets over boiling water[200].
Seed - sow in a shady position in a cold frame preferably as soon as it is ripe, otherwise as soon as the seed is obtained. It can be very slow and erratic to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse or frame for at least their first winter. Make sure the pots are deep enough to accommodate the roots. Plant out into their permanent positions in late summer. Division in spring.
Related Plants                                         
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Kalopanax sciadophylloides 10
Kalopanax septemlobusTree Aralia, Castor aralia21
Oplopanax horridusDevil's Club22
Oplopanax japonicus 21
Opopanax chironiumOpopanax01
Panax japonicusJapanese Ginseng11
Panax pseudoginsengGinseng, Japanese ginseng13
Panax pseudoginseng notoginsengSan Qi15
Panax quinquefoliusAmerican Ginseng13
Panax trifoliusGround Nut, Dwarf ginseng12
Polyscias sambucifoliaElderberry Panax00
Pseudopanax arboreusPuahou10
Pseudopanax edgerleyi 00
Tetrapanax papyriferRice Paper Plant, Chinese Rice Paper Plant11
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[176]Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
[178]Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica.
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.
[302]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Commission E

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
Jackline Wed May 16 2007
I am 36 years old, my fried told me bout Gingsomin and I felt great after using it. Should I stop, what are the dangersfor those below 40 years of age? Thank you.
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future Wed May 16 2007
There are no dangers to using this herb when you are below the age of 40 years. The tradition in China is that it is viewed mainly as a herb for the elderly and other forms, such as Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus scenticosus) are preferred for younger people. In the West, however, ginseng tends to be used quite widely by younger people. If using it makes you feel good, then carry on using it.
Elizabeth H.
knut knudsen Tue Jun 26 2007
i had hepatit c,and then i start taking ginseng ,and 2 hours exersize 6 times a weekNow i,m healty.
Elizabeth H.
katie ohlde Mon Aug 13 2007
I am pregnant and taking a protein shake that contains 50mg of ginseng. Are there dangers in this dosage?
Elizabeth H.
z seneto Tue Aug 14 2007
I am currently taking red Korean Gingsen. I have bbeen experiencing some severe headaches, could hat be the cause? Taking 3mg twice a day
Elizabeth H.
joanna scrivens Tue Sep 4 2007
Hi my husband is 33 and has been given wei-tai 999 granuals and ginseng, now he has really bad stomach acid ,anxiety and is a little depressed , this is all because he cant relax and sleep at night, now should he be taking the ginseng as this promots energy, thanks Joanna.x
Elizabeth H.
Sat Nov 3 2007
does the ginseng bottled herb have the same effect as the root and if so what mg. or doesage is recommended+
Elizabeth H.
ethnoplants Tue Nov 25 2008
If you want to buy ginsneg panax seeds, there are in ethnoplants

ethnoplants Panax ginseng seeds

ihealbox C.
Sep 4 2014 12:00AM
Unlike American ginseng, Asian ginseng tonic "yang", American ginseng tonic "yin". Angry people can eat American ginseng. Body cold people can eat Asian ginseng.
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