Dragon Line 2a on Ginseng root history page.
Yin Yang symbol on Ginseng root history page.

History of Ginseng

Yin Yang symbol on Ginseng root history page.
Dragon Line 2a on Ginseng root history page.

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Ginseng: An Ancient Medicinal Root.

      For thousands of years ginseng root has been a valued medicinal herb in traditional oriental healing. References to ginseng can be found in writings dating back over two millenia. There are mentions of ginseng use during the Qin and Han dynasties, 221 BC - 220 AD.

     Often coveted by the Asian royalty and military aristocracy, ginseng has been a rare and treasured herb with a medicinal association stretching far back into the ancient traditions of long past ages. Ginseng was known to be a potent source of vitality, longevity; and equally important to the Eastern philosophy it sharpened the mind and memory, and restored the body's natural balance of chi, or elemental energy.

     Eastern medicine, and particularly Chinese traditions, are deeply involved in the concept of Yin and Yang, representing the balance of the universe. In order to prevent or cure disease this same balance was necessary in the body, and ginseng was used to help restore and maintain that balance. Interestingly enough, modern western science now accepts ginseng as an adaptogen, a modern term which essentially means the same thing: restoring the bodies natural balance.

    Shen Nung, 456-538 AD, the compiler of the Shen-Mung-Pen-Tsao-Ching: The Shen-Nung Pharmacopeia, stated "Ginseng is a tonic to the five viscera, quieting the animal spirits, stabilizing the soul, preventing fear, expelling the vicious energies, brightening the eye and improving vision, opening up the heart benefitting the understanding, and if taken for some time will invigorate the body and prolong life." There is evidence that by this time ginseng had long been a cultivated crop.

     Ginseng root is also known as Man Root, which is its original Asian name. This is in reference to the uncannily human appearance of many ginseng roots before the tendrils have been stripped off, and ginseng root can resemble the human figure in an astonishing variety of easily recognizable postures. Standing, running, sitting, leaping, and many more poses are all frequently found, particularly in Korean ginseng. Much American ginseng root is also strikingly similar to the human shape.

     Wild ginseng root is becoming rarer in the United States, and wild ginseng root has been virtually eliminated in Asia. Fortunately, the cultivated root has demonstrated all the potency of the wild variety, although the wild root still commands a higher price. The picking of wild ginseng root has become strictly controlled, not only in Asia but also in Canada and America.

     Control over the harvesting of wild ginseng is nothing new. For 300 years in recent Chinese history during the Qing dynasty, 1644-1911, there were strict penalties including flogging, imprisonment, and exile for collecting or selling wild ginseng.

     Ginseng was discovered growing in Quebec in 1715 by a Jesuit missionary. The root was subsequently exported to the existing market, starting in 1717. In 1824, 375 tons of ginseng were exported to Asian markets from the US.

     Cultivated ginseng production, particularly in Canada and the US, continues to fill the growing need, exporting many hundreds of tons of ginseng each year. You can get fresh dried ginseng root, in its purest form, with greater ease than ever before in history due to the modern convenience of the internet, and instant ordering over the web. Check out products page for more information, and our ordering page for complete secure ordering instructions!

Yin Yang symbol on Ginseng root history page.

NOTE: The statements above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products sold and statements made on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is recommended that ginseng not be used by women while pregnant or nursing. Please consult a qualified physician before entering into any program of treatment for a medical condition.

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