Monday, January 08, 2007

Selecting Ginseng

Selecting Ginseng

The three main type of Ginseng is as follow:

  1. Oriental Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
  2. American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium)
  3. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Oriental Ginseng
This is the much popular root of all the time, often reaching celebrity status, the famous Ginseng. It’s an ideal stimulating tonic as it is more effective than any other species in this respect. However, someone who is ‘hot’, hyperactive, and nervous shouldn’t take this herb. However, this is exceptional when one is exhausted, recuperating from illnesses, or aged. Ginseng tends to be masculine in energy, which may amplify male hormonal qualities more successfully than other varieties. Subsequently, this root is better for males than females but the variation is so slight, both sexes can consume them without much difficulty. However, do take precautions.

American Ginseng
Currently available in the United States and the Far East, it is almost as popular as Oriental Ginseng. American Ginseng, though tonic, is a ‘yin’ tonic. It’s not as brim stoning as Oriental Ginseng, thus allowing a variety of person to consume it without much problem. It is adaptogenic nonetheless and in this respect, comparable to that of Oriental Ginseng. People in warmer climate (like in Southeast Asia) prefer this to Oriental Ginseng.

Siberian Ginseng
I have already blogged about this herb in details. Refer to the post with similar title.

The Grades and Varieties of Oriental Ginseng

The best one is called ‘Yi Sun’ Ginseng. Though I never heard of it, I am including a list of guideline on what to see when buying your root.

The older the root when harvested, the better. Larger roots might be older than smaller roots but to see it clearer, note the head-like protrusion on the top of the Ginseng root. If you see attentively, you will notice the rings on the node. The number of the rings roughly parallel the years the said Ginseng is cultivated.

Red is better than white generally, because higher quality roots are usually selected for steaming. The Korean called this ‘Hong Sam’

The root should be firm and hard. If it is red, it should look crystalline and deep in colour, often red.

Ginseng root should taste rich, strong and bitter, often with a peculiar sweet aftertaste.

The shape should be straight with some hairy tendril roots. Roots that are too hairy are not of good quality as root hairs are medicinally poor. The root should have a man-like appearance and generally, curled roots are of a more inferior quality.

It is worthy to mention that the Koreans' roots are of good quality too. Though not as good ad the Chinese’s as it is quit blatant in term of energy, nonetheless, you can guarantee Korean roots to be of good qualities. The Korean Government is very specific in their Ginseng Roots and theirs are quite world-renowed.

*Image taken from:

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