An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.


Ginseng, American - Panax quinquefolius (Panax quinquefolium) - family: Araliaceae (Ginseng Family).

This is a perennial plant that grows to about three feet high. It has compound toothed leaves and in the late spring and early summer produces tiny greenish-white flowers. The flowers are followed by berries that ripen to a bright red in the autumn. Traditional American folk use of aromatic roots as a remedy for colds, dizziness, fevers, headaches, liver problems, nervousness, poor appetite and stress. Also used as a general tonic. Also used as an herbal tea. Traditional Native American use of the roots as a remedy for rheumatism, for vomiting and as a folk aphrodisiac. Modern American folk use as a remedy for adult diabetes [Williams, Alternatives, 7/2000]. Modern American folk use as a remedy for anxiety and to possibly slow down the aging process. Note: do not use during pregnancy or if nursing. Note: ginseng may cause some side effects such as anxiety, diarrhea, headache, insomnia, nervousness, rashes or loose stools. Note: some authorities suggest that large doses or long term doses may cause asthma, cause heart palpitations, raise blood pressure or cause post-menopausal bleeding in the uterus.Note: Ginseng may increase the anti-blood-clotting effects of aspirin and other drugs; it is probably not advisable to ingest Ginseng when taking aspirin or anti-coagulant (blood thinning) drugs. Note: several authorities suggest not taking Ginseng for more than two or three weeks continuously. Note: do to massive wild harvesting in the nineteenth century and the fact that it is very slow growing, some retail products have been found to contain little or no genuine ginseng. It must be grown for six years before its roots reach full medicinal strength. Listed in the United States Pharmacopoeias from 1840 to 1870. Native to eastern North America. Cultivated as an herb and as an ornamental in North America.



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Web page last updated on 21 May 2003.