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American Ginseng: combined with the juice of a good ripe pineapple, is superior as a treatment for indigestion. It stimulates the healthy secretion of pepsin, thereby ensuring good digestion ...

Common Names: Five finger root, Wonder of the World Root. Chinese: Xi yang shen

Botanical Name: Panax quinquefolius

Family: Araliaceae

Plant Type: Hardy perennial

Parts Used: Roots

Flowering: July and August

American ginseng is native to North America, growing naturally on the slopes of ravines and other shady but well-drained places in hardwood forests, in varying abundance from eastern Canada to Maine and Minnesota, south to Oklahoma, and through the mountains of Georgia and Arkansas.

Description: In its wild state it grows 8 - 20 inches high, bearing three large leaflets at the top and two smaller ones beneath. Yellowish green clusters of flowers are produced in mid-summer, followed by edible bright crimson berries, which can be seen until the frost. The root is thick, spindle-shaped, 2 - 4 inches long, and 1/2 - 1 inch or more in thickness. After the second year it usually becomes forked, the branched protrusions somewhat resembling a human form. It usually takes at least six years for the root to reach marketable size.

Most North American ginseng is produced in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia and the American state of Wisconsin.

Harvesting: Dig up the roots in the autumn and then it should be carefully washed, sorted and dried. If collected at any other season, it will shrink more and will not have its prime, plump appearance. If not thoroughly dried, it will mold.

Nature at Risk: Wild Panax is now almost unobtainable in its native habitat, and most supplies are from cultivated sources. It takes seven years for the roots to be mature enough to harvest, and they have very specific growing conditions.

Ginseng Magick

Love. Wishes. Healing. Beauty. Protection. Lust.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Fire

Burn ginseng to ward off evil spirits and to break hexes and curses.

Ginseng can be a substitute for the mandrake for magickal purposes.

Carry the root to attract love, to guard your health, to attract love, and to ensure sexual potency.

Hold ginseng root in your hands, visualize or carve your wish into the root, and throw it into running water.

Herbal Healing with Ginseng

Medicinal Actions: Aphrodisiac, demulcent, nervine, stimulant, stomachic

Traditional Medical Uses:

Native American Herb Wisdom

A tea was made from the root and used as a stimulating tonic, to stop vomiting and convulsions, as an arthritic aid, and as a potential aphrodisiac. Native tribes used it in the treatment of nervous disorders, dizziness, shortness of breath, fevers and headaches. It was used to help staunch the flow of blood from gashes, cuts and other wounds.

The root was chopped, boiled, and given to babies for colic and croup. The ground root was used for asthma and for queasy stomachs. Old-time doctors believed that externally the root helped stop bleeding and that internally it was good for the urinary system, even to the point of ridding the urinary system of stones and graves. They utilized it for coughs and to promote perspiring, thus lowering fever.

The roots were crushed to provide a poultice for earache and for sore eyes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, American Ginseng promotes Yin energy (shadow, cold, negative, female), cleans excess Yang in the body, and calms the body. It is traditionally considered to benefit the lungs, dissipate heat, quench thirst, and promote body secretions. Although it is considered a tonic, it is used under different bodily conditions than Asian Ginseng: coughs, resulting from lung deficiencies, which are marked by short and shallow breath and dry throat, loss of blood, thirst, fever, irritability, tiredness, as well as toothache and hangover.

The ginseng is sliced and a few slices are simmered in hot water to make a decoction.

Ginseng Tea for Nervous Indigestion

Take 3 ounces of powder (ginseng 6 - 7 years old) and add 1 ounce of honey and 60 drops of wintergreen and blend.

Use 1 teaspoonful to 1 cup of boiling water, let it stay a little short of the boiling point for 10 minutes, drink as hot as you can before each meal.

To make tea from the dried leaves, steep as you would for ordinary teas.
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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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