Ginseng, or Panax Ginseng (from the Greek pan “everything” and akèia “cure”, a term from which the Italian word panacea comes from, that is, remedy for all malaises; the term ginseng, instead, come from the Chinese, rènshēn, which literally means ‘plant of Man’, precisely for the human form of its roots), is a perennial herbal plant, with a plump rhizome and fusiform, originating from eastern Asia and North America. Traditional Chinese medicine considers the plant an elixir of youth, possessing all therapeutic, curative and energising virtues imaginable; and it seems that this has been known for centuries, because ginseng appears in the oldest medical treaties, at the beginning of the Christian era. The part used is generally the root, fresh or drieda.
There are various types of ginseng, the main ones being:
- Asian Ginseng is Panax ginseng. According to traditional Chinese tradition, ginseng promotes the energy of yang and opposes the excess of yin.
- American Ginseng is Panax quinquefolius. According to traditional Chinese medicine, quinquefolius promotes yin energy and reduces the excess of yang.