American Ginseng and Asian Ginseng
Ginseng is the most famous medicinal herb in Asia. It must be grown for 5 years before it is harvested; as a consequence, it fetches high prices. The name 'ginseng' comes from the Chinese word 'jen-shen' (human plant) due to its root shape, which resembles a human body.
The term Panax, from the Greek words 'pan' (all) and 'akos' (remedy), took its origin from the traditional use of the plants. In traditional oriental medicine, ginseng was used as a tonic and rejuvenator, although its precise activity was unknown.
Several herbs are commonly called ginseng but the two most famous are Asian Ginseng and American Ginseng. To understand the traditional uses of American and Asian ginseng, a brief introduction to traditional Chinese medicine is necessary.
The Yin and Yang concept views the world as a balance between two opposite and complementary forces: one is rather active and issuing (Yang), and the other is more passive and receptive (Yin). The Chinese also consider Yin to be a cooling force and Yang to be a hot one. This theory has strongly influenced traditional Chinese medicine. In the body, as in the world, a balance should be maintained between Yin and Yang forces. Illness is the result of an excess of one of them. In traditional Chinese medicine, American ginseng supports the Yin force, whereas Asian Ginseng promotes Yang. Their activities thus differ and are complementary.
Humans have consumed ginseng for millennia. Ginseng is one of the most widely herbal extracts that have been studied in toxicity and safety models. There is no risk associated with ginseng consumption.