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Panax quinquefolius - L.

Common Name American Ginseng
Family Araliaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rich cool woods[43].
Range Eastern N. America - Maine to Georgia, west to Oklahoma and Minnesota.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Panax quinquefolius American Ginseng


Panax quinquefolius American Ginseng

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Panax quinquefolius is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in flower in June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Aralia quinquefolia.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses: Tea

A tea is made from the leaves and the roots[105, 177, 183]. The aromatic root is candied and used as a masticatory[183].

References

Medicinal Uses

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Adaptogen  Cardiotonic  Demulcent  Sedative  Sialagogue  Stimulant  Stomachic

This N. American species of ginseng is said to have similar properties to the Oriental ginseng, P. ginseng, though it is said to have a milder action and is more likely to be prescribed for younger patients[238, 254]. It is cultivated in some areas of America as a medicinal crop and is also often harvested from the wild[238].The root is said to be adaptogen, cardiotonic, demulcent, panacea, sedative, sialagogue, stimulant and stomachic[21, 35, 46, 147, 165, 176, 222]. It is used in the treatment of chronic cough, low-grade fever, spontaneous or night sweating and fatigue due to chronic consumptive disease[176]. When taken over an extended period it is said to increase mental efficiency and physical performance whilst helping the body adapt to high or low temperatures and stress[222]. Some caution is advised, though, because large doses are said to raise blood pressure[222]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[254]. The following notes are the list of uses for P. ginseng. Ginseng has a history of herbal use going back over 5,000 years[238]. It is one of the most highly regarded of herbal medicines in the Orient, where it has gained an almost magical reputation for being able to promote health, general body vigour and also to prolong life[218]. The root is adaptogen, alterative, carminative, demulcent, emetic, expectorant, stimulant and tonic[165, 176, 178, 218]. It both stimulates and relaxes the nervous system, encourages the secretion of hormones, improves stamina, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increases resistance to disease[238]. It is used internally in the treatment of debility associated with old age or illness, lack of appetite, insomnia, stress, shock and chronic illness[238]. Ginseng is not normally prescribed for pregnant women, or for patients under the age of 40, or those with depression, acute anxiety or acute inflammatory disease[238]. It is normally only taken for a period of 3 weeks[238]. Excess can cause headaches, restlessness, raised blood pressure and other side effects, especially if it is taken with caffeine, alcohol, turnips and bitter or spicy foods[238]. The roots are harvested in the autumn, preferably from plants 6 - 7 years old, and can be used fresh or dried[238]. A dose of 10ug/ml of ginseng saponins has been shown to be significantly radio-protective when it is administered prior to gamma-irradiation[218]. The leaf is emetic and expectorant[218].

References

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Food Forest

References

Cultivation details

Requires a deep moist humus rich soil in a shady position in a woodland[200]. Requires deep shade, growing well on north-facing slopes and in woodland[4, 14, 20]. Often grown as a medicinal plant[4, 57], though considered to be inferior to Korean ginseng, P. ginseng[200]. It is exported from N. America, mainly to Hong Kong[207]. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 9 through 1. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is a tap root similar to a carrot going directly down [1-2]. The root pattern is fleshy. Thick or swollen - fibrous or tap root [1-2].

References

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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Propagation

Seed - sow in a shady position in a cold frame preferably as soon as it is ripe, otherwise as soon as the seed is obtained. It can be very slow and erratic to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse or frame for at least their first winter. Make sure the pots are deep enough to accommodate the roots. Plant out into their permanent positions in late summer. Division in spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

43200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Katie   Tue Aug 8 2006

You might also want to mention on your page that American Ginseng is ENDANGERED and should not be harvested in the wild.

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