Information on Ginseng

Latin NamePanax ginsengphoto
Other NamesChinese or Korean ginseng
Part UsedRoot
Herb FormsTeabag, tablet, capsule, beverages, chewing gum, bulk herb, powder.
AffectsEndocrine system, Digestive system, Nervous system
CautionsContraindicated in hypertension.
Botanical InfoA small perennial herb of deep forests of the eastern U.S. with three symmetrical branches at the top of the stem, each palmately compound with five coarsely-toothed sharply-pointed leaflets.
DescriptionLong known as a panacea, ginseng is considered excellent for people over 50 to improve vitality and sexual energy. It is also indicated for digestive problems with symptoms such as gas or malabsorption or a feeling of fullness, even after eating only small meals. For the elderly, it is useful for debility, weakness, chronic fatigue, lethargy, and convalescence. This is a good herb to take for chronic infections related to immune weakness. It is one of the most important Chinese medicinal herbs used in all deficiency diseases to tonify the lungs and the stomach and strengthen the digestion. Because your digestion is the source of daily vitality, by improving its efficiency, the immune system and hormonal balance are also strengthened. The red and white varieties of Panax ginseng are described below:

1. Panax ginseng (white varieties)--unsteamed, dried Chinese or Korean ginseng and its preparations are useful for many of the conditions quoted above--it is not excessively warming as are red varieties and can be better-tolerated by young people.

2. Panax ginseng (red varieties)--steamed, dried Chinese or Korean ginseng and its preparations are used for cold, deficient conditions of the lung and digestion. They are often added to modern herbal and dietary energy supplements and sports supplements. It is reputed to increase male and female hormone production, improve sexual vigor in the elderly, and lead to increased energy. It is inappropriate for young people under 40, as it is too heating and stimulating.

3. Panax quinquefolius, or American ginseng is an excellent energy and adrenal tonic for all ages that is a cooling ginseng used for people with long-standing conditions with such symptoms as chronic lower back pain, ringing in the ears, night sweats, fatigue, and chronic infections of any kind.

Ginseng has a taste of SWEET, BITTER and a temperature of WARM.


Decoction1 cup 2-3 x daily
Tincture1-2 droppersful 2-3 x daily
Extract1-2 capsules 2-3 x daily

Ailments Treated by Ginseng

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Impotencehormonal tonictincture, tablet, capsule, teas
Incontinencetoniccapsule, tablet, tincture, tea
Lack of sexual energyhormone stimulant, tonictincture, tea, tablet, capsule
Narcolepsystimulating adaptogentincture, capsule, tea
Rejuvenationhormone regulatingtincture, tablet, capsule, tea
Senilityhormone regulatortincture, tablet, capsule, tea
Sterilityhormone regulatortincture, tablet, capsule, tea


Blumenthal, Mark et al. 1998. The Complete Commission E Monographs. Austin: American Botanical Council.
Newall, C. et al.. 1996. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press.
Leung, A. and S. Foster. 1996. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients. New York: J. Wiley & Sons.
McGuffin, M. et al. 1997. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Bensky, D. and A. Gamble. 1986. Chinese Herbal Medicine. Seattle: Eastland Press.
Weiss, R. 1988. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers.
Wren, R.C. 1988. Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs. Essex: C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd.
Reynolds, J., ed. 1993. Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia. London: The Pharmaceutical Press.