Panax ginseng
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Panax
P. ginseng
Binomial name
Panax ginseng

Panax ginseng, ginseng,[2] also known as Asian ginseng,[2][3] Chinese ginseng[2][3] or Korean ginseng,[2][3][4] is a species of plant whose root is the original source of ginseng. It is a perennial plant that grows in the mountains of East Asia.


Panax ginseng is called Rénshēn (人蔘 or 人参 or 人參; lit.'ginseng') in Mandarin (Chinese), Insam (인삼; 人蔘) in Korean and Ninjin (人参) in Japanese. The specific epithet ginseng means "man-herb" or "forked root".[5]


Panax ginseng is a herbaceous perennial growing from 30 to 60 cm tall. Plants have a spindle- or cylinder-shaped taproot, usually with 1 or 2 main branches. Plants produce 3 to 6 leaves that are palmately compound, with each leaf having 3 to 5 leaflets. The margins of the leaflets are densely serrated. The flowers are born in a solitary inflorescence that is a terminal umbel with 30 to 50 flowers. The peduncles of the flowers are 15 to 30 cm long. The flower ovary is 2-carpellate, with each carpel having two distinct styles. Mature fruits are 4–5 x 6–7 millimeters in size, red in color, and round with flattened ends. The white seeds are kidney-shaped. The (2n) diploid chromosome count is 48.[6]


Panax ginseng illustrated by Pierre Jartoux in 1713

In a letter dated 12 April 1711, the French Jesuit mathematician and cartographer Pierre Jartoux described gin-seng,[7] a Chinese name for a plant now known as Panax ginseng.[8] According to Jartoux, the name means "form of man", which refers to the shape of the root.[9]


Panax ginseng is native to mountainous regions of Russian Manchuria (in the Russian Far East), Manchuria, Northeast China, and the Korean Peninsula.[2] It is a protected plant in Russia and China, and most commercial ginseng is now sourced from plants cultivated in China, Korea and Russia. It is also cultivated in some areas of Japan. The plant is a slow-growing perennial, and the roots are usually harvested when the plants are five or six years old.[10]


Panax ginseng is one of the most commonly cultivated ginseng species, along with P. notoginseng (found naturally in China) and P. quinquefolius.[11]


There is no high-quality evidence for ginseng having a health effect.[12] Ginseng phytochemicals called ginsenosides are under preliminary research for their potential to affect fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis.[12] Panax ginseng is generally considered safe for adults when used for less than six months, but may be unsafe to use for longer than six months.[12]

Folk medicine

Ginseng is used as an herb in folk medicine.[3] It is consumed due to the belief that it may improve memory and cognition in otherwise healthy adults[3] and that it may improve sexual function in adults with erectile dysfunction.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Synonyms in Catalogue of life
  2. ^ a b c d e "Panax ginseng". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Asian Ginseng". National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). September 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  4. ^ English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 559. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2016 – via Korea Forest Service.
  5. ^ Gledhill (2008), p. 178.
  6. ^ Xiang, Qibai; Lowry, Porter P. "Panax quinquefolius". Flora of China. Vol. 13. Retrieved 5 January 2024 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  7. ^ Jartoux (1713), pp. 242–246.
  8. ^ Brinckmann & Huang (2018), pp. 908–910.
  9. ^ Jartoux (1713), p. 245.
  10. ^ Mahady, Gail B.; Fong, Harry H.S.; Farnsworth, N.R. (2001). Botanical Dietary Supplements. CRC Press. pp. 207–215. ISBN 978-90-265-1855-3.
  11. ^ Baeg, In-Ho; So, Seung-Ho (2013). "The world ginseng market and the ginseng". Journal of Ginseng Research. 37 (1): 1–7. doi:10.5142/jgr.2013.37.1. PMC 3659626. PMID 23717152. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d "Panax ginseng". MedlinePlus, US National Library of Medicine. 21 April 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2021.