Ginseng

Herb: Ginseng
Botanical Name: Panax Quinquefolium L.
Synonyms: American Ginseng, San, Redberry, five fingers, man root, divine root, Root of life
Locales: Maine to Minnesota, N. Georgia, Arkansas and China.

Ginseng stimulates and increases endocrine activity in the body. Promotes a mild increase in metabolic activity and relaxes heart and artery movements. Stimulates the medulla centers and relaxes the central nervous system.

Caution: Don't take ginseng and ginseng mixtures with coffee as it will accelerate the caffeine effects on the body and can cause diarrhea.

There are several way to prepare and use ginseng. The ones I am familiar with follow:

  1. Chewed as a root, raw, about a pencil's thickness and one foot long is best.
  2. As a Tea, one teaspoon of root filaments in a pint of boiling water for ten minutes (chew & swallow the pulp). Sip tea very slowly.
  3. KaoLiang: this is a very expensive Chinese wine, aged at least three years. It has a strength level of vodka in alcohol content. Makes an excellent nightcap.
  4. French Love Wine: two parts chablis, crush in an ounce of vanilla bean, ounce of cinnamon chips, one dried Rhubarb and one of ginseng. Leave stand two weeks and stir it daily. Strain through cheesecloth and add amber for color (if wanted).

Japanese ginseng should be avoided, as most of it is of poor quality. Korea exports ginseng 'tea' which is pleasant, but is heavily cut with other herbs so that some of the effects are lost.

Ginseng is said to be highly good for the metabolism, and promotes general well being. It has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, but this seems to be totally based on the fact that it relaxes the overly tense person a bit. If you suffer from back pain or TMJ adding this to a tea of Catnip and slippery elm may help. It is also presumably usable as an ingredient in a mead or magewine.

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