American Ginseng American Ginseng
Panax quinquefolius L. (Araliaceae)

Common Names
American ginseng, dwarf groundnut, five fingers, garantogen, garentoquere, gensang, ginseng, grantogen, jinshard, manís health, manroot, ninsin, redberry, sang, tartar root.

Description
A perennial about 6 to 8 inches long, with 2 to 4 leaves that are divided into 5 leaflets arranged palmately at the end of each leaf stalk. The small terminal stalk produces inconspicuous flowers and red berries. Roots are large and aromatic.

Flowering Period
August.

Habitat
Rich and cool woods.

Harvest
Roots at 3 to 4 years, in the fall.

Uses
The therapeutic value of this plant has never been established in this country, yet this is one of the most valuable woodland crops in Appalachia. The cleaned dried roots branch to resemble the human body, they are revered and used as a medication for any ill. In China, the roots are used in the preparations of love potions and talismans. The largest amount harvested in Appalachia is shipped to Hong Kong, Singapore, and other areas where there are large Chinese colonies. Soviet Union scientists claim to have isolated various compounds that have therapeutic value. In Appalachia, a tea made of the root is used as a tonic and aphrodisiac.

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