How To Buy Ginseng


The Chinese call it " Ren Shen", the Koreans call it " In Sam", and in English it is called " Ginseng". The Chinese & Korean  name refers to it's shape and usage "man root". It has long been considered a  panacea for virtually any human condition.

For thousands of years, Ginseng was and continues to be one of the world's most sought after herbs.

If you are looking to buy ginseng, you will soon find there are so many choices out there it can be abit confusing. Let's try to clarify the basics and then go further to find out what's what in the world of Ginseng.


There are 3 main species of Ginseng.

1. PANAX GINSENG ( Greek for "Cure-all")- This is the Ginseng that is native to China & Korea. Some sources claim that only Korean Ginseng is to be termed Panax Ginseng, or that it is also refered to as a subspecies,  Panax Ginseng C.A Meyer.

2. PANAX QUINQUFOLIA-A species of Ginseng native to North America. It was first discovered and cultivated in Canada in Montreal and Ontario, near  the Great Lakes Area. The Great Lakes Area is considered a prime growing conditions for American Ginseng so much of the ginseng  grown in this region is considered the finest North American Ginseng.

NOTOGINSENG OR TIENQI ROOT: This is not a Panax Ginseng and in traditional Chinese & Korean sources it is not referred to as  Ginseng at all.

Panax Ginseng has acquired such a famous and popular reputation for it's remarkable and powerful health benefits that other herbs not related to Ginseng,  have been referred to as a " ginseng ".

Some examples of this are: Maca ( lepedium- sometimes called Peruvian Ginseng). Eulethero- (  Siberian Ginseng) Dang Kuei ( Women's Ginseng) Ashwaganda ( Indian Ginseng)


Many unscrupulous sellers sell White Ginseng but say it is Red Ginseng.

White Ginseng is fresh non-steamed ginseng. White Ginseng does not have the same health and healing powers as Red Ginseng.

Chinese Ginseng and White Ginseng is always cheaper & lesser in quality than Red Ginseng. Red Ginseng is dark reddish-brown color as you see; often you will see a golden skin covering, indicating age.

Fresh roots or White Ginseng weigh 4-5X more due to increased water content. Observe that grapes appear larger & weigh more than raisens, it is all due to the water.  So you can see how one dry, steamed genuine Red Korean Ginseng Root is actually worth more than 5 White Ginseng Roots. Studies have shown that Red Korean Ginseng contains significantly more saponins and 10 more ginsenosides.

When you buy White Ginseng  you may seem to be getting more ginseng in weight,  but actually it is lesser quality and more water,  and much less effective.

This steaming process is a vital part of what makes Korean Red Panax Ginseng unique & powerful because it concentrates and amplifies the healing energy of the Ginseng.  Traditionally, only steamed Red Panax Ginseng is used in Asia.


These roots have been traditionally steamed with special herbs and then sun-dried. The best Panax Ginseng roots are Red Panax Ginseng Roots, which is the result of steaming.  

" Steaming enhances the biochemical composition of the roots and prevents the breakdown of active ingredients. Steaming for approximately three hours at 120 degrees Celsius (248 Fahrenheit) and can multiply the herbs antioxidant qualities by 8X and the ability to relax the heart vessel by 32X...

The steam produces an optimal amount of biological activity from the same ginseng used in normal supplements, Park found. The higher temperature amplifies certain ginsenosides - the ingredient believed responsible for ginseng's sought-after qualities - and generates others not normally found in dried versions of the root..." researcher Jeong Hill Park of Seoul National University in Korea ."

SOURCE:  the peer reviewed American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, Science Daily.Com

Ginseng is considered "energizing," but has not been shown to be addictive, or cause insomnia  or  overly-stimulate the central nervous system the way caffeine or drugs do.

TASTE: Ginseng has a mild, pleasant & slightly sweet taste. Once cooked the roots become quite soft, entirely edible and easily digested.

In Asian Medicine, Red Panax Ginseng is considered to regulate the digestion. This means that Red Panax Ginseng will improve a poor appetite and also reduce unhealthy cravings in an excessive appetive. Ginseng can restore balance in the body's metabolic and physiologic functions.

WHY BUY GINSENG WHOLE vrs STANDARDISED EXTRACTS? For nearly 5000 years, ginseng roots have been prescribed in their natural form for best results. Why waste time and money when you can have the real thing?

1- QUALITY: The best ginseng are sold as roots and slices rather than powder, capsules or extract. Just like better cuts of beef, tenderloin or filet mignon are not made into hamburger.

3-VALUE:   The average bottle of  processed ginseng supplement, contains only 25 - 30 grams of  processed "ginseng" along with other binders & fillers and who knows what else. The average small ginseng root is 9-14 g, while medium  roots are  15-18 g & large roots weigh 19 g upwards  each. It is easy to see why one or two ginseng roots will be: 1- more economical  2-more  effective than one bottle of 'ginseng' supplement.

3- PURITY: Independent tests by health food trade journal, “Whole Foods” found that 25% of packaged processed ginseng products contained no ginseng at all.  60 % of manufactured  ginseng products  contained too little of the herb to have any  effect.

4- AUTHENTICITY: Ginseng is very expensive and difficult to produce. Contamination & substitution with cheaper products is very common in packaged ginseng products. Many manufactured "ginseng" products contain Mandragora officinarum (mandrake, a poisonous narcotic) with hyoscine bromide, rauwolfia alkaloids with the hypertensive drug reserpine, cola with caffeine, phenylbutazone (a carcinogen), and aminopyrine.

5-POTENCY: The most active constituents of ginseng are  "ginsenosides". As many as 18- 30 ginsenosides are found within a ginseng root. For economic reasons, manufacturers have started to "standardize" ginseng. Only some of the many ginsenosides are extracted from the ginseng roots to make standardized ginseng preparations. This manufacturing process alters the natural ratio and spectrum of the naturally occuring ginsenosides. By taking ginseng in root form, you are certain to be getting the full ginseng benefits.

HOW TO BUY GINSENG: Ginseng is a very slow growing root which requires a special organic soil and climate conditions grow. Ginseng requires at least 6  years to reach maturity. Quality of the roots are determined by several factors : age, place of origin, size ( length AND girth), the crown/head, amount of rootlets or nodes and skin appearance.

MEDICAL USES:   "Panax" is Greek for "cure- all". This alone tells you a lot about this herb: no single herb can be considered a panacea but ginseng comes close to it.

Anti-aging, diabetes, anemia, cancer, depression, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, menopause, impotence, shock, fatigue, hypertension, effects of radiation, detoxifys effects of morphine and cocaine use, environmental, physical and mental stress, and chronic illness.

Ginseng is adaptogen, promotes stamina, increases life expectancy, relaxes the nervous system, improves mental awareness, restores and enhances sexual functions, improves lipid levels, lowers cholesterol, improves nerve growth, and increases resistance to disease.  Ginseng is an antioxidant and autoimmune enhancer with anti-cancer properties.


Ginseng is highly regarded as a  traditional  'Qi ' tonic by the Asians. Qi means energy/life force.

“Red Ginseng is nourishing to the five internal organs, it is sweet in taste, it contains no toxicity, it calms and stabilizes the spirit, eliminates palpitations, prevents fright and stops terror, removes evil Qi (pathogenic factors), clarifies vision, opens the heart, brightens the mind, strengthens the memory, benefits wisdom and long-term administration of Ginseng will lighten the body and prolong lifespan.” -Spirit Farmers Almanac,  Chinese Medical Text circa 4000 BC

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