The Truth About Ginseng | All you need to know
There are three different herbs called Ginseng.
Buy Panax Ginseng REN SHEN (ON SALE)
Buy American Ginseng XI YANG SHEN
Buy Siberian Ginseng CI WU JIA
Each is distinctly different from the other
XI YANG SHEN
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is native to the United States. though the best quality is wildcrafted from Wisconsin, American ginseng also grows wild in the Midwest, New England, Appalachia, the Ozarks, and in eastern Canada. It is also cultivated on ginseng farms.
American Ginseng has been used for medicine by many Native American tribes as well as in China, and throughout Asia.
Most American ginseng harvested in the USA is exported to China. This has been true since the mid-1700s. The American ginseng harvest is an important source of revenue to many people in the United States and especially to American Indian tribes in the midwest.
Be careful about the grade of American Ginseng that you use. There are huge differences in price and quality.
Benefits of American Ginseng: Tonifies the Yin
Like its cousin Panax Ginseng, American Ginseng is highly prized throughout China and Asia. The best quality is grown in Wisconsin.
Though it can't boost Original Qi, it does have other very useful properties. Most notably, this herb strongly nourishes the Yin and generates fluids. People who are dry or hot due to yin or blood deficiency will probably benefit from its properties.
This herb is bitter and slightly sweet in flavor, cold in nature, and acts on the heart, lung and kidney channels. Sweet and cold for invigorating Qi and nourishing Yin, and bitter and cold for clearing heat and fire, as a heat-clearing tonic with tonification as well as purgation, it is indicated for deficiency of Qi and Yin with pathogenic fire.
Both American ginseng root and Panax Ginseng have the effects of invigorating Qi and nourishing Yin and are indicated for deficiency syndrome of Qi and Yin. However, patients with cold of deficiency type in the spleen and stomach are contraindicated to use American ginseng root; while patients with fire of excess type in the interior are contraindicated to use Panax Ginseng which is slightly warm in nature.
CI WU JIA, WU JIA PI
The root of this herb is a mild qi booster, but in TCM, the skin of the root is much more commonly used to Expel Wind Dampness from the Joints and Tendons.
Unlike Panax Ginseng or American Ginseng (which are roots and also hard to cultivate), Siberian Ginseng(Ci Wu Jia) is a cheap and abundant weed that grows in many areas.
Two different species are used, eleuthrococis senticosis, and acanthopanax senticosus. Neither is similar in properties to either American or Oriental ginseng. Ginsenosides characteristic of Panax ginseng are not found in the roots of Ci Wu Jia.
Chinese herbalists use the skin of the root of this plant mainly to treat Bi-Syndrome (arthritis).
How to Take Ginseng
Ginseng can be chewed, brewed, swallowed or stewed. No matter if it is taken as a tea, lozenge, pill, powder, or food, it is always best to use a good quality root.
Using the dried ginseng root is best. First cut it into dime sized slices. Note: Ginseng will slice easily after it has been warmed in the oven for a few minutes or in the microwave for a few seconds (alternatively, you can buy it already sliced). The slices can now be chewed or brewed. Sucking and swallowing slices of Ginseng provides a quick method of dosage and oral satisfaction. To brew tea with Ginseng, use 3-9 grams per person. Double boiling is preferred. Slow boil herb slices for about one hour, and drink the tea on an empty stomach.
Note that Panax Ginseng is sometimes steamed with aconite or other herbs to enhance its strength. This is called red ginseng. It has a warm nature. Also available is White Ginseng. This is unprocessed Panax Ginseng. Milder White Ginseng is more appropriate when the user has too much heat. Its cooler nature won't aggravate hot or inflammatory conditions.
Ginseng Value: How To Buy Ginseng, What You Need to Know
Choosing a good quality herb means everything with Panax and American ginseng. Prices can range from $50/ lb. for soup grade to $10,000 for a single root of prized quality. Market prices can fluctuate wildly, however as of this writing, a decent medicinal grade of Panax or American ginseng will retail for between $500 and $2,000 a kilo.
Siberian ginseng, a common weed, should cost only a fraction of the price of either Oriental or American ginseng. The price of Oriental or American can vary greatly. What determines the value of Oriental or American ginseng?
• Ginseng roots gathered from the wild are far more costly than those cultivated on a farm.
Wildcrafted roots will not contain traces of the fungicides which are used on cultivated
• Roots that resemble a human form are more valuable than those that do not.
• Big roots are better than small ones. Thick roots are preferable to thin roots.
• Old roots are more prized than fresh ones.
• Strong characteristic taste and smell also indicate the strength of Ginseng roots.
• Siberian ginseng is cheap, and should cost only a fraction of what Oriental or American
Ginseng Extracts (Ginseng pills and liquids)
Like every other herb, ginseng is made up of hundreds of different chemicals. Standardized ginseng extracts are rated by the percentage ginsanocides they contain. Scientists believe these chemicals create ginseng's effects. Marketers believe that standardization is favored by consumers.
Herbalists, however, believe that the effects of any herb depend on many chemical components interacting together. That is why most herbologists prefer whole herbs or simple water extractions to standardized extracts. Besides, extracts are usually taken from inferior herbs, herbs that can't be sold whole due to poor appearance, taste, and potency.
Low-temperature water extracts, which have not been chemically manipulated in order to standardize ginsanocides, are more like the herb as it is found in nature.
Ginseng that is truly gathered in the wild (wildcrafted) is likely free of fertilizers and pesticides. However, to be called "organic", ginseng must be certified by a third party organization recognized under the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA). This law can be accessed through the USDA website at: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml.
Methods of certification vary from state to state, and until very recently, there were no Chinese certification agencies recognized by federal authorities. This picture is beginning to change. More and more batches of certified organic ginseng are becoming available, as markets adapt to the demand for organic herbs.
These extracts are, of course, only as potent as the herbs from which they came.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.