By Bill Weekes – Ginseng is an all-purpose herb you’ll find on the forest floor. It’s known as panax ginseng … panax meaning “panacea” or “cure all.” Ginseng is an indisputable plant for all reasons, including its herbal stress relief properties.
The handsome ginseng, a slow-maturing deciduous perennial herb with leaves oblanceolate or lanceolate, has been heralded as an energy and sex enhancer, stress reducer, disease fighter and aging abater.
And while ginseng is ogled as the lookers of the temperate forest floors, the plant’s medicinal potency matures in its oddly shaped roots after growing over six years. Many roots resemble a man (jen, shen), which means “man/root” in Chinese.
There are different types of ginseng, those grown not only in the U.S., but in China, Korea, Soviet Union and Canada. Pick a type not contaminated by pesticides. The roots are picked in fall and cured in the air or in steam, and pulverized before being made into a tea. With a mixture of water and alcohol, the root can be made into a tincture.
Lending herbal stress relief to humans, ginseng reduces the level of chemicals producing stress. Stress has become significant in our age of enhances population and success frustration. Ginseng impacts hormones that can reduce the level of stress, and hence, the level of chemicals that might produce disease. Hormonal action readies and mobilizes a body encountering emergencies.
Achieving herbal stress relief with ginseng bolsters the body’s immune system to fight heart and liver disease, diabetes, bronchitis, chronic fatigue and the common cold. If you do fall victim to the annual winter bug, here are natural cold remedies to help you recover sooner. Ginseng also abates alcoholic hangovers, and is a natural remedy for headaches. By helping to fight the diseases of old age, ginseng protracts life expectancy. According to the Materia Indica of 1826, old age may be made amicable by ginseng’s ability to smooth wrinkles, tone up body parts, and remove nervous afflictions.
According to one theory, the body makes “free radicals” that attach themselves to RNA and DNA, causing our cells to deteriorate. With ginseng, the body’s metabolism is spurred to prevent free radical formation.
And where, geographically, is ginseng found in North America? According to The Complete Book of Ginseng, by Richard Heffern, the plant is found in Western Canada, south past the Great Lakes area, from Maine south through New England, down to the Carolinas and Georgia. The plant is grown in hardwood shade and specimens at least three years old with at least two leafstalks eight inches in length should be picked, preferably in the fall. Roots should be bone dry before being cut.
For more information about herbal remedies, visit Countryside’s healing herbs list. If you are interested in natural remedies to stay healthy and treat common ailments, here are some great articles: home remedies for bug bites, home remedies for sunburns and home remedies for chapped lips.
For more information on the varieties and medicinal uses of ginseng, refer to the following:
The Ginseng Book; S. Fulder; Avery Publishing Group, Garden City, NY (1996)
The Complete Ginseng Handbook; J. MoraMarco; Contemporary Books, Lincolnwood, IL. (1997)
The Complete Book of Ginseng; R. Heffern; Celestial Arts, Millbrae, CA (1976)
Originally published in 2003 and regularly vetted for accuracy.