Introduction of Ren Shen:Ginseng or Radix Ginseng.

TCM Herbalism:Medicinals and Classifications. ✵The article gives records of the herb Ginseng, its English name, Latin name, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Panax ginseng C.A.Mey., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, its wild mountain type, transplanted type, and cultivated garden type, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Ginseng, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Radix Ginseng(Ginseng).

Radix Ginseng:herb photo Pin Yin Name: Rén Shēn.
 English Name: Ginseng, Ginseng Root.
 Latin Name: Radix Ginseng.
 Property and flavor: slightly warm in nature, tastes slightly bitter, sweet.

 Brief introduction: The herb Radix Ginseng is the dried root of Panax ginseng C.A. Mey., used (1).to powerfully replenish Qi and to promote fluid production for the treatment of prostration, general weakness, diabetes mellitus, impotence or frigidity, heart failure and cardiogenic shock, (2).to tonify the spleen and lung for the treatment of anorexia, cough and shortness of breath, and (3).as a tranquilizer for treating cardiac palpitation and insomnia. The herb is commonly known as Radix Ginseng, Ginseng, Rén Shēn.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Panax Ginseng (Ren Shen) as the root of the plant species (1). Panax ginseng C. A. Mey. It is a plant species of the Panax L. genus, the Araliaceae family (the ginseng family) of the Apiales order. This commonly used species and its different kinds are introduced:

(1).Panax ginseng C.A. Mey.


 Panax ginseng C. A. Mey.:fruiting plant Botanical description: Panax ginseng C.A. Mey is a plant of the Araliaceae family (the ginseng family) and Panax L. genus, it is also known as Panax schin-seng Nees, Ginseng, Shén Cǎo (means miraculous herb), or Bǎi Chǐ Gān. A perennial herb, the plant grows to 30-60 cm high, or up to 70 cm high. The main roots are hypertrophic, succulent, cylindrical, or fusiform, and the end is often divaricated, the out bark is primrose yellow (pale yellow). Palmately compound leaves, have long petioles; the number of verticillate leaves is different according to growth years, generally, a shrub of 1-year growth has 1 trifoliolate leaf, a shrub of 2 years growth has 1 pentacotyl compound leaf (five leaflets), shrub of 3 years growth has 2 pentacotyl compound leaves, and then it grows 1 more compound leaf every year, and up to 6 compound leaves; 5 lobules (leaflets), occasionally 7 lobules; petiolules are 1-3 cm long; lobules are lanceolate or oval (egg-shaped), 2 lobules underside are smaller, 2-4 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, 3 lobules at upper part are 4.5-15 cm long, 2.2-4 cm wide, the apex is acuminate, the base is cuneate (wedge-shaped), the edge is serrulate(minutely serrated), the upper surface is green, has sparse and dilute setula (setulae or fine bristles), the under surface is glabrous.

 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Garden Ginseng Umbels are terminal (apical), peduncles are 15-25 cm long, each inflorescence is composed of 10–80 flowers, accumulated into globular shape; flowers are small, 2-3 mm in diameter; the calyx is green, 5-dentate lobed; 5 flower petals, pale yellowish green, oval (egg-shaped); 5 stamens, filaments are very short; the ovary is inferior, 2-loculed, 2 styles, absent in hermaphroditic flower, the base connate, the upper part is separated.

 Fruits are drupaceous berries, oblate or reniform, 5-9 mm in diameter, numerous, accumulated and capitate, and turns ruby-red (bright red) at maturity, 2 seeds, ivory-white (milky white), 4-5 mm in diameter, flat and oval (egg-shaped), one side is truncated, 1 seed per cell. Its flowering period is from May to June, the fruiting period is from June to September.

 Ecological Environment: The plant, Panax ginseng C.A. Mey grows in deciduous broad-leaved forests or coniferous and broad-leaved forests at altitudes of several hundred meters above sea level. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed in the China mountains of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, and northern Hebei. Liaoning and Jilin have extensive cultivation. The plant that grows in the wild environment is called Wild Ginseng, or Wild Mountain Ginseng; the cultivated plant is called Garden Ginseng. The plant that grows from transplanting young wild ginseng into the farm fields, or transplanting cultivated young ginseng shrubs into the wild and growing up, is called "Transplant Wild Ginseng". The Wild Mountain Ginseng, Garden Ginseng, and Transplant Wild Ginseng, are introduced:

(1.1).Panax ginseng C.A. Mey.(Wild Mountain Ginseng).


 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Wild Mountain Ginseng Botanical description: Panax ginseng C.A. Mey is a plant of the Araliaceae family (the ginseng family) and Panax L. genus, It grows in mountains and is commonly known as Wild Ginseng, Wild Mountain Ginseng, or Ye Shan Shen (means Ginseng grows in wild mountains), a perennial plant; rhizomes (reticular heads) are short, upright or oblique, not thickened into chunks. The main root (taproot) is hypertrophic, fusiform (spindle-shaped) or cylindrical. Stems above ground are solitary, 30~60 cm tall, with vertical stripes, glabrous, has persistent scales at base. Leaves are palmately compound leaves, 3~6 tuberculous stems apically, young shrubs have fewer leaves; petioles are 3-8 cm long, longitudinally glabrous, stipules are absent at base; 3~5 leaf blades, young shrubs often have 3 leaves, filmily, central lobes are elliptic to oblong-elliptic, 8~12 cm long, 3~5 cm wide, outmost pair of lateral leaflets are ovate, 2~4 cm long, 1.5~3 cm wide, the apex is long acuminate, the base is broadly cuneate, decurrent, the margin is serrated, teeth are thorny, the upper surface has a few bristles scattered, bristles are about 1 mm, the under surface is glabrous, lateral veins are in 5~6 pairs, conspicuous on both sides, the veins are not conspicuous; the petioles are 0.5~2.5 cm long, and the lateral petioles are shorter.

 Wild Mountain Ginseng:shrub and fruits Umbels are indistinct, about 1.5 cm in diameter, composed of 30~50 flowers, rarely 5~6 flowers; pedicels usually are longer than leaves, 15~30 cm long, with vertical stripes; pedicels are filiform, 0.8~1.5 cm long; flower is yellowish green; gills are glabrous, margin has 5 triangular teeth; 5 petals, ovate-triangular; 5 stamens, filaments are short; ovary is 2-loculed; 2 styles, free.

 Fruits are drupaceous berries, oblate or reniform, 4~5 mm long, and 6~7 mm wide, 5-9 mm in diameter, numerous, accumulated and capitate, and turns ruby-red (bright red) at maturity, 2 seeds, cream white (milky white), 4-5 mm in diameter, flat and oval (egg-shaped), one side is truncated, 1 seed per cell. Its flowering period is from May to June, the fruiting period is from June to September.

 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Wild Mountain Ginseng:shrub Ecological Environment: The plant, Panax ginseng C.A. Mey grows in the deciduous broad-leaved forest or coniferous and broad-leaved forests at altitudes of several hundred meters above sea level. Geographical distribution: This species is mainly distributed at 40 to 45 degrees north latitude and 117.5 to 134 degrees east longitude, in China provinces eastern Liaoning, eastern Jilin, and eastern Heilongjiang. It is distributed in Jilin and Liaoning and also introduced and grows in Hebei (Lingwushan and Dushan mountains), Hubei, Guangxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, and other areas.

 Wild Ginseng is the ginseng growing in the wild mountains. It is a valuable Chinese medicinal material and has a lot of value. Wild Ginseng is considered to have the best quality and the best medicinal effect because it has been growing for a long time. In the years of excavation, more and more reductions have disappeared in most parts of Jilin. Some are growing in or around the Changbai Mountain National Nature Reserve, graded according to the number of leaves.

 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Wild Mountain Ginseng Wild Ginseng, also known as Ren Shen, Bang Chui (Battledore), Fairy Grass, Di Jing (Earth Goblin), and so on. There is also a legend about the origin of the name of the Di Jing (Earth Goblin): according to legend, during the years of the emperor Sui Wendi of the Sui dynasty, someone in the Shangdang county heard somebody cry every night after they went back to home but found nobody around. He went out a mile and found ginseng, which foliage grows abnormally. The man dug into the soil five feet in depth, to get ginseng, and it looks just like the human body, already has four limbs, and the crying sound is stopped. Ever since then, it has been called Di Jing (Earth Goblin).

 Ginseng Baby There are many folk legends about ginseng, one story tells: Once upon a time, an old man in the mountains had a son who often went out into the mountains alone. One day, the child came back and said that he had met a chubby child who was wearing a red belt in the mountains and played with him together. It is strange. The old man told his son that the child might be ginseng, and he took his son a needle and put it on a red thread, asked his son to put the needle in the pocket of the child, and he wouldn’t walk if he was ginseng! When the son encountered the chubby child in the mountains again, he pinned the needle in his pocket, and the child really turned into a big ginseng. Therefore, once the people in the mountain find ginseng, they must use the red thread prepared in advance to pin on the ginseng's stem, and ginseng can't run away.

 Wild Mountain Ginseng:herb photo The collection of wild ginseng is very laborious. People can only collect one wild ginseng in the mountains for a period of one or several months of hard work. It is said that there is a very beautiful bird in the deep mountains and old forests. It is most active in August. The bird likes to eat ginseng seeds and screams like a scholar. Its screams sound like, “Wang Ganduo!, Wang Ganduo!”, audible, where there is such a bird, there is ginseng. The wild ginseng grows naturally in the old, remote, thick forest mountains. Some of them have been growing for centuries and have not been cultivated artificially or chemically. The collection is very laborious, and the medicinal value is extremely high. It is also a rare green precious treasure with high conservation value, and expensive.

 Growth characteristics: The plant Panax ginseng C.A. Mey., prefers coldness, and moist climates, avoids strong light direct shining, strong cold-resistance. Seeds can be dried in shade and stored, the embryo has characteristics of ecological post-maturation and physiological post-maturation; ecological post-maturation needs temperature changes between 20-10 Deg C (Celsius, or 68–50 degrees Fahrenheit), physiological post-maturation needs a low temperature of 2-4 Deg C (Celsius, or 35.6-39.2 degrees Fahrenheit), and need about 3–4 months, seeds which are not finished post maturation could not sprout. It has strict requirements in soil, it is appropriate to choose a field rich in organic matter, sandy loam, and humus soil with good permeability for cultivation, and avoid continuous cropping.

 Wild Mountain Ginseng:herb photo Characters of herbs: Wild Mountain Ginseng: Wild Mountain Ginseng is also known as wild ginseng or Yě Shān Shēn. There is a thin and deep horizontal ring pattern on the upper end. The rhizome is thin and long, generally 3~9 cm long, with a twisted upper part, commonly known as "wild goose-neck reed", the reed bowl is dense, and the lower part is smooth and without reed bowl, commonly known as "round reed". The main root (taproot) is thick and short, which is as long as or shorter than the rhizome, and mostly has two rootlets, in the shape of figure eight or cylindrical, 20-10 cm long, 1-2 cm in diameter. The surface is sallow (grayish yellow), and has vertical wrinkles, the upper part has fine and dense spiricles, habitually called iron wire patterns. The apical rhizome on the tip of the taproot is thin and long, about equal length as the taproot or longer, calathiform (bowl-shaped) stem marks are dense, the segment of rhizome near the taproot is smooth and has no stem marks, habitually called Yuan Lu, pendulous adventitious roots grow besides rhizomes, shape like date pit (jujube pit). Rootlets have sparse and slender fibrous roots, the length is about 2–3 times the length of the ginseng body, flexible and not easy to break, has conspicuous verrucous protrusions (pearl spots). The root surface of fresh wild mountain ginseng is yellowish-white, with fine skin, and smooth. The herb of a better grade has big rootlets, hard, complete, fine lines, long reed, dense reed bowl, with round reed and pearl spots.

 The herb has a strong aromatic fragrance, it tastes sweet and slightly bitter. Due to different processing, there are three kinds of commercial wild ginseng: dried fresh ginseng, sugared ginseng, and pinched-skin ginseng. Its characteristics are similar to those of the corresponding garden ginseng products, except for the full shape.

(1.2).Panax ginseng C.A. Mey.(Transplant Wild Ginseng).


 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Transplant Wild Ginseng Botanical description: Panax ginseng C.A. Mey is a plant of the Araliaceae family (the ginseng family) and Panax L. genus, It grows in mountains or farm fields and is commonly known as Transplant Wild Ginseng, or Yí Shān Shēn (means transplanted Ginseng), the plant which grows from the transplanting young wild ginseng into the farm fields, or transplanting cultivated young ginseng shrub into the wild and grow up, are called Transplant Wild Ginseng. The wild ginseng is a rare medicinal material produced in the primitive forest of Changbai Mountain. It mainly grows in hilly broad-leaved mixed forests at altitudes of 2,200~1,000 meters above sea level, and a canopy density of 0.7~0.8. The distribution areas generally have wet-type temperate monsoon climate characteristics and are mostly growing in shade-sheltered areas where the east-west sun shines. Wild ginseng is the ginseng with the best medicinal effect. It has a nourishing effect due to its sparse yield and enjoys a high reputation in the world.

 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Transplant Wild Ginseng Transplant Wild Ginseng is a kind of wild ginseng. There are two types of it, and known as Mountain Transplant, or Home Transplant: Mountain Transplant type means a mountain farmer puts a mountain seedling of present wild ginseng, due to their small weight and age, are not suitable to be stocked, so they are transplanted to the undergrowth near the home to facilitate caretakers and natural growth; Home Transplant type means the ginseng planted by the farmers, the seedlings are transplanted into the forest in the mountains, and they are not watered or fertilized, so that they can grow naturally in the wild.

 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Transplant Wild Ginseng Ecological Environment: Panax ginseng C. A. Mey (Transplant Wild Ginseng) grows in the forest of mountains.

 The basic feature of the Transplant Wild Ginseng is that the residual part of the stem often turns thin or thick, and it does not appear as a pile of reeds but turns to rolling reeds. The reeds of thread-shaped type are often found, most of which are reeds of bamboo joint type. The reed wrist is loose and not tight and dense, and it is long and sparse; Most of cockp are straight and long, but some of many years also have jujube-pit cockp, sometimes in the shape of thick at the lower part and thin at the upper part, cockp is snubby, many of them stretch aside, sometimes cockp body is beyond the ginseng body.

 Transplant Wild Ginseng:herb photo The legs of ginseng are relatively straight and long, with 1-3 stripes or more, and the transplanted new soil is full of nutrients, and the nutrient accumulation is mainly in the lower part of the taproot (main root), which makes the body shape of the lower part expand rapidly, while the upper part of the taproot remains the same, showing the color of black at the upper part and white at the lower part; The cortex is slightly puffed and tender, rough, not smooth, with sparse and loose cross striations, ring grains are shallow, and has no tight skin fine lines; After transplanting, the legs and fibrous roots of ginseng grow swollen together, and the legs and fibrous roots are inseparable, the ginseng fibrous roots are fine, tender and short, with more branches at the lower end, no main fibrous root, and pearl spots are sparse and small. The longer the reed of the ginseng, the thinner the upper part is, which is thick at the lower part and thin at the upper part. The cockp is upturned and stretched sideways, and the cross striations are rough and shallow, the cortex is rough and rugose, and in abnormal states (morbid states), such as many fibrous roots injured by the fertility of soil, red rust, and scars.

 Transplant Wild Ginseng:herb photo Characters of herbs: Transplant Wild Ginseng: The transplanted wild ginseng looks like wild ginseng in shape, but the lower part of the taproot (main root) is often big and hypertrophic, with thick and shallow lines, often extend to the middle of the taproot, and few pearl spots in the fibrous root. The prepared herbs of transplant wild ginseng are the same shape as wild ginseng roots.

(1.3).Panax ginseng C.A. Mey.(Garden Ginseng).


 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Garden Ginseng Botanical description: Panax ginseng C. A. Mey is a plant of the Araliaceae family (the ginseng family) and Panax L. genus, the plant that grows in farm fields and is cultivated artificially is commonly known as Garden Ginseng, planted ginseng, or Yuán Shēn (means Ginseng which is cultivated in herbary), the plant grows similarly as the wild mountain ginseng.

 The reed is thick and short, mostly not curved, and the reed bowl is sparse and grows on the residual part of the stem. The taproot (main root) is mostly cylindrical, the texture is loose; cross striations are thick and shallow, incontinuous, and the upper and lower parts both have cross striations. The ginseng legs are many and short, the fibrous roots are many and short, crossed and scattered, the texture is crisp, and the pearl spots are inconspicuous. There are common garden ginseng and sided ginseng. The former has a short reed, a thick body, and many legs. The latter has been cultivated for over eight years and is characterized by a long reed and long body, and long legs.

 Ecological Environment: Garden Ginseng is mainly cultivated in Baishan City, Tonghua City of Jilin Province, Heilongjiang, and Liaoning of China.

 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Garden Ginseng Growth characteristics: Panax ginseng C.A.Mey prefers a cold and moist climate, avoiding strong light direct shining, strong cold resistance. It has strict requirements in soil, it is appropriate to choose a field rich in organic matter, sandy loam, and humus soil with good permeability for cultivation, and avoid continuous cropping.

 The appearance of the Garden Ginseng is beautiful and thick, and the roots are dense. It has some differences from the Wild Ginseng: 1. The garden ginseng root is short and the wild ginseng's reed is relatively long; 2. The garden ginseng body is stout and opaque milky white, while the wild ginseng is fine; 3. The fibrous roots of garden ginseng are as dense as a broom and crisp, but the fibrous roots of wild ginseng are sparse, long, and tough.

 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Fresh Garden Ginseng Characters of herbs: Garden ginseng: The garden ginseng is also known as seedling ginseng. The taproot is cylindrical or fusiform (spindle-shaped), 3-15 cm long, 1-2 or 3 cm in diameter; the upper end connects a thinner rhizome (customarily called reed head: residual part of stem), 2-5.5 cm long, has 4-6 bowl-shaped stem marks (customarily called reed bowl), arranged alternatively, winter buds are often visible beside the apical stem marks; the lower part has 2–4 rootlets and few thin lateral roots (branch roots), 8-12 cm long, the lower part of rootlets have many thin and long fibrous roots, the surface of rootlets sometimes has inconspicuous small and fine verrucous protrusions (customarily called pearl spots). The surface is fallow (light yellowish-brown), and has irregular vertical wrinkles and fine cross striation, the cross striations on taproots are often thin, dense, and discontinuous, forming rings; the surface of rootlets has a few elongated lenticels. The texture of the herb is hard, the fracture surface is yellowish white, the cortex has many radial fissurings, and has scattered yellowish-brown small spots (resin ducts). The herb has a special odor and is aromatic, tastes slightly sweet, and bitter.

 Panax ginseng C.A.Mey.Garden Ginseng Since the Tang dynasty, the artificial cultivation of ginseng already begun. Cultivated garden ginseng has been cultivated in the north and northwest area, and Hubei provinces, except for a large amount of cultivation in the northeast. Under meticulous management, cultivated ginseng can be harvested in 6 years. Ginseng mostly grows between 40 and 45 degrees north latitude, with an average temperature of -23~5 °C (Celsius, or -9.4~41 degrees Fahrenheit) in January, an average temperature of 20~26 °C (Celsius, or 68~78.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in July, strong cold resistance, the low-temperature resistance of -40 °C (Celsius, or -40 degrees Fahrenheit), and the suitable growth temperatures are 15~25 °C (Celsius, or 59~77 degrees Fahrenheit). The accumulated temperature is 2,000~3,000 °C, the frost-free period is 125~150 days, the snow is 20~44 cm, and the annual precipitation is 500~1,000 mm. The soil is well-drained, loose, fertile, brown forest soil with a deep humus layer or brownish forest soil with a mountain pH (pH scale:acidity-basicity) value of 5.5~6.2. It grows in Pinus koraiensis mixed forest or deciduous broad-leaved forest, the canopy density is 0.7~0.8. Ginseng usually blooms in 3 years, fruiting from 5 to 6 years, its flowering period is from May to June, and the fruiting period is from June to September. It grows in deciduous broad-leaved forest or coniferous broad-leaved mixed forest and in areas at altitudes of several hundred meters above sea level.

 Pharmacological actions: Ginseng has a bidirectional regulation effect on human function and metabolism, and this bidirectional regulation is mainly beneficial to the recovery and strengthening of body function. Such as regulating the central nervous system, affecting the body's immune function, protecting the cardiovascular system (Cardiotonic effect, reduce or increase blood pressure, anti-shock effect), the hematopoietic function of bone marrow protection and stimulation, effect on the endocrine system (protection of pituitary-adrenal cortical systems, avoid function failure, affect the genital gland and hormone secretion, affects the thyroid and islet, and other secretion system), influence the metabolism (carbohydrate metabolism and lipid metabolism, protein metabolism), anti-aging, adaptogen and anti-stress ability, etc.

 Medicinal efficacy: Reinforce vital energy, restore normal pulse and consolidate depletion, consolidate depletion and promote the production of body fluid, replenish spleen and benefit lung, prompt body fluid production and nourish blood, calm the nerves (relieve uneasiness of mind and body tranquilization), benefit intelligence. It is indicated for body deficiency and collapse, Qi deficiency and collapse, feeble and impalpable pulse, faint pulse and cold extremities, asthenia and internal lesion caused by overexertion, physical deficiency and much perspiration, spontaneous perspiration and sudden collapse, deficiency and lean due to long illness, lassitude, dyspnea and cough due to lung deficiency, short breath due to lung deficiency, deficiency cough and asthma, Qi deficiency and body fluid deficiency thirst, endogenous heat and wasting thirst (internal heat and consumptive thirst), deficiency of Qi and blood, dizziness and cephalea (vertigo, headache), palpitate with fear and insomnia, insomnia and dreaminess (lose sleep, much dream), amnesia (poor memory, bad memory), asynodia (impotentia), cold uterus, kidney deficiency and asynodia, blood deficiency and sallow complexion, frequent urination, spleen deficiency and poor appetite, spleen deficiency and lassitude weak, anorexia (lack of appetite), vomiting, regurgitation and throw up undigested food, slipping diarrhea, diarrhea (loose bowels), metrorrhagia and metrostaxis (uterine bleeding), chronic infantile convulsion, chronic deficiency and not recover, and all syndromes due to deficiency of Qi blood and body fluids, etc.

 Administration of Radix Ginseng (Rén Shēn): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Radix Ginseng (Rén Shēn)
TCM Books: ①.Internally:3~9 grams, decoct separately, add to take;or prepare to finely ground herb powder, swallow take,2 grams each time, twice daily; ②.Internally:water decoction, 0.5~3 qian (about 1.5~9 grams), big dosage up to 0.3~1 liang (about 9~30 grams);prepare an ointment, or prepare to pill, powder; ③.Internally:water decoction, 3~10 grams, big dosage could be 10~30 grams, better decoct separately and add to take;or prepare to ground herb powder,1~2 grams;or prepare an ointment;or infusing in wine;or prepare to pill, powder.
 Contraindications,Precautions and Adverse Reactions:the herb Radix Ginseng should not be combined with Black False Hellebore, Faeces Togopteri, Chinese honey locust, black soya bean, Halbrine. Should not be prepared with ironware.

 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Ren Shen:Ginseng or Radix Ginseng.

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