Asian Ginseng Root: Panax ginseng
American Ginseng: P. quinquefolius
Ginseng is a common native of hardwood forests throughout eastern and central North America. By the 1800s in America, ginseng was becoming less plentiful, due to voracious gathering of the ginseng root. It soon became an industry.
Ginseng, it was thought, worked as an aphrodisiac and the ginseng root also increased one’s wisdom and longevity. A highly valued commodity traded on the frontier was Ginseng.
Siberian ginseng has been used by the Russian cosmonauts to improve performance in space. It has been found to posses powerful tonic properties and is found to relieve the effects of mental and physical stress. Siberian ginseng differs from American ginseng in that it does not cause insomnia in large doses.
Plant Type: Hardy Perennial
USDA Growing Zones: Zones 2B to 8
Growing Ginseng requires great patience, a large investment and hard work to harvest. Ginseng is cultivated commercially under special growing conditions in Wisconsin, and more recently in British Columbia and Ontario. Today, most ginseng is exported from the U.S. is from Marathon County, Wisconsin.
A process called "stratification" is generally required for germination of ginseng seeds. To grow in your wooded herb garden, in the fall sow the ginseng seeds in flats and place outside in your garden bed and cover with mulch. In the early spring inspect the flats periodically for signs of germination. When germination begins, remove the mulch.
The seeds of American ginseng are planted in specially prepared areas or in the hardwood forests, in the fall before the ground freezes. The ginseng seedlings appear in the spring but are not mature for 3 to 6 years. Siberian ginseng may take 1-2 years to germinate, a bit longer that American ginseng.
Ginseng is an amazing medicinal herb but: It should never be taken during an inflammatory illness or bronchitis, as it can drive the illness deeper.
Ginseng and Siberian ginseng is thought to help those weakened by old age or disease. It is also thought to be stimulating for the central nervous system, because of several hormone-like substances in the plant.
Ginseng believers claim that the benefits include protection against stress and building physical endurance. While folklore and traditional views on the benefits of ginseng have claimed it to be a great healer, some claims have also been reinforced by modern research. Modern science, though, has remained skeptical with tests raising more questions than answers concerning ginseng.
Thomas Kueny, Publisher - http://www.growing-herbs.com