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Ginseng, in the singular but there are 11 perennials that call themselves this, and none are wrong. Because it is a genre: the Panax. The main and common feature is the fact that it grows slowly and has fleshy roots. We are in Araliaceae family, the same as many other medicinal plants already seen.
It sounds like the name of a drug, let me tell you, and it actually has very bad curative effects, in some ways and certain pathologies, yet Panax it has nothing chemical and its meaning, Latin, is very explanatory. Panax, panacis Latin term derived from the Greek παν ἀκέια composed of pan (everything) and akeia (cure, remedy), the same origin of the word panacea: the remedy for all ills.
It is China that has lent us the term ginseng: Comes from 人蔘 / 人参, (pinyin: rénshēn) and it literally means plant of man. A taste of the active ingredients, before delving into: triterpene saponosides (i ginsenoids), panaxiatrol (a triester) and traces of essential oil.
Ginseng: the plant
In the wild, plants grow in groups and their diffusion occurs through the natural fall of the seeds from the mother plant. Knowing perhaps that he is often desired, for his energizing properties, for example, ginseng takes it easy. It has a rather long germination time: it germinates in early spring, after being underground for 18 to 21 months.
Its growth chart is not hyperactive: in the first year the shoot shows three small oval and serrated leaves only 5 centimeters from the ground, in autumn they even fall, together with the stem, and there remains a sort of scar on the rhizome.
Also called "neck" of ginseng, the rhizome can be considered a sort of extension of the stem in the underground part. Similarly to the rings of tree trunks, these autumn scars mark the pace and also the passing of time, making explicit the'Age of ginseng. A scar is a past year. With three scars, then, the plant reaches 20 cm and finally shows a few more leaves, ready to reach 40 cm in the following year, and 5 groups of leaves.
We focused on the aesthetics of the plant, because it is what you see, but if the essential is invisible to the eye, in the case of ginseng this essential, and very rich in properties, lies in the root. Bitter, but fleshy and fusiform, it appears tuberous and colored straw yellow, multiform and ready to unleash imagination on its own shapes like clouds. There is a dragon root, a child root and, whoever finds it is lucky, in the shape of a man.
The root of Panax it is edible in all respects, just like a carrot or a radish. Indeed, not really, because the ginseng has numerous properties that raise it to another level: from increasing physical endurance and resilience to improved circulationwithout forgetting the precious power of enhancing memory.
These are the major strengths, overall its effective action should also be considered when it comes to fight stress and neurosis or to enhance physical and mental performance. Finally, very important, the ginseng strengthens the immune system and lowers the risk of contracting various diseases.
Taken by the enthusiasm for the numerous and precious properties of ginseng, let's not really believe him the panacea for all ills as he wants us to believe with the name he bears. There are also side effects and contraindications that should be borne in mind. For example, the ginseng can provoke trivially insomnia, not at all pleasant, much less are they nausea, diarrhea, headache, nosebleed, hypertension, hypotension and, for women, acute pain in the breast.
Without forbidding it, let's consume it with measure, aware of what we can face if we exaggerate. Others unwelcome effects of this plant mainly concern those suffering from depression: this root can worsen manias, especially if taken together with antidepressants of the class of mono-amino oxidase inhibitors.
Ginseng, all 11 plants with this name, are characterized by presence of ginsenosides. All except Siberian species (Eleuterococcus senticosus): it has a branched root instead of a fleshy one and instead of ginsenosides it contains eleutherosides.
The Siberian is therefore a special species. There Vietnamese it is instead the most commonly used, the precious one, finally, comes from China and is Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer (jen-Sheng), among other species we can meet there are also him pseudoginseng (seven leaves), found in Nepal, Himalayas and Japan, and the Korean Panax.
Competing with Chinese ginseng, in terms of value, comes the Korean species. It is universally considered a very powerful natural energizing substance as well as a restorative tonic. In Asia it has been used since ancient times for fight fever and infections.
There are two types of korean ginseng, one white and one red, depending on the production process to which they are subjected after harvesting. Between the two colors, as I hoped, red wins: this is the most used type. Also because it is treated in order to be rendered more digestible and tolerable from the human body through a steam "heating" process that eliminates all toxins.
By doing so, the Ginsenosides are more available and more active, for the same panax, and the effectiveness increases. Compared to both Korean white and other competing ginseng species. All that remains is to try it by purchasing a pack of 30 quality Korean Gingseng sticks directly on Amazon.
For those with concerns about calories, there is nothing to hide. The ginseng as a root it provides 150 calories for every 100 grams. If we usually consume it in the pleasant coffee formula, which we now taste, we take into account that 1 cup about 20 ml contains approx 85 Calories, 4.4 grams of fat, 6.5 of carbohydrates and 1.5 of protein.
If you are looking for a remedy to increase the metabolism do not underestimate the power of and the properties of guarana: guarana, properties.
Like the plant itself, also the drink we call ginseng coffee it is of Asian origin, in particular it comes from the Asian ridge area, between Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. For those who do not yet know it, it has a look “From caffelatte”, Having among the ingredients also milk cream - usually of vegetable origin - and then sugar, instant coffee and dry ginseng extract.
Also in this solution, the our Panax has its well-known effects: it stimulates the nervous system and gives a feeling of well-being, it stimulates organic activities concerning the circulatory and muscular system, "Giving a move" also to the immune one and, consequently, the nervous one.
Italy welcomed the ginseng coffee around 2001 becoming one of the first Western countries to use it in an important way. It is often dispensed in bars using automatic machines already used for barley, but there is also, very Italian, the "Italian espresso" version with dry ginseng extract. Less known, the so-called variant Tongkat Ali, with the addition of a plant native to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Other articles that may interest you:
- Aphrodisic foods: what they are
- Indian ginseng: properties
- Medicinal plants: list and fact sheets
- Ginger: properties