NZ Lifestyle Block

Why is it so valuable?


Ginseng is an ancient Chinese herb and is considered a national treasure.

Its first recorded use dates back around 5000 years. Centuries of tradition and superstiti­on created an elaborate series of rituals associated with finding the plant and then carefully digging it up by hand. A single root could take hours to dig. Each of the fine rootlets had to remain perfectly intact, as even the tiniest break caused the entire root to lose its value.

Roots were then wrapped in tree bark and moss from the forest, and transporte­d on horseback, then boats to get it to the homes of Emperors and nobility.

The word ginseng is a corruption of the Chinese word ‘ren-shen', often translated to mean 'man root', referring to how its forked shape sometimes resembles the human body.

Asian and American ginseng are the two main species in the genus Panax (from the Greek for ‘panacea'). Asia's Panax ginseng is said to have warming effects (yang) that balance the cooling ‘yin' of American ginseng (Panax quinquefol­is, which refers to its five leaves).

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