Panax ginseng, also known as Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, or Korean ginseng, is a species of plant whose root is the original source of ginseng. It is a perennial plant that grows in the mountains of Eastern Asia. Panax ginseng is one of the most commonly cultivated ginseng species. It is a protected plant in Russia and China, and most commercial ginseng is now sourced from plants cultivated in China, Korea and Russia. The plant is a slow-growing perennial and the roots are usually harvested when the plants are five or six years old.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, dried ginseng is used as a tonic to revitalize and replenish vital energy. It is also used to treat anemia, insomnia, gastritis, abnormal blood pressure and fatigue. Ginseng is used today in many commercial health supplements to help improve energy levels, prevent fatigue and exhaustion, and assist in recovery.
Panax ginseng seeds should be cold stratified for at least 3 months, before planting. Plant in early spring but protect the seedlings from frost in the first year. Sow after the last frost. The seeds should be planted about 5mm to 20mm deep in the soil. Plant approximately 5cm apart if you intend to transplant the rootlets. When the rootlets are two years old they can be replanted (minimum 20cm apart), this reduces the risk of fungal infections from spreading to the other rootlets. Conversely, the seeds can be planted with a spacing of 20 to 30 cm. It is important to care for sown seed by ensuring that the soil is moist but not wet. Mulching is important. The soil needs to be a well draining loam, which holds moisture. Ginseng does not like wet feet at all.