Valued and recognized for its legendary ability to bring health, virility and a longer life span, it is no wonder that the Panax ginseng is deemed to be more than worth its weight in gold among Chinese royalty of lore. Historical records show that the benefits of ginseng have been enjoyed by royals long before the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). Its exclusive use soon became a law – commoners found using the “royal root” could be punished with death.
Traditional healers and herbalists of China have long studied and recorded the effects of ginseng in health, before modern science came along. Ancient medical texts describe ginseng with such revere that it sounds more like a miracle: “Ginseng calms the mind, brings harmony to the soul, eliminates fears, and drives away evil spirits. It also makes the eyes shine, opens the heart, and clarifies thinking. If taken long enough, it strengthens the body and extends life.” Panax ginseng’s historical role as an aphrodisiac is also still greatly appreciated today.
Why is it called Panax Ginseng?
Ginseng, the English name of the plant, is a modification of its Chinese name “ren shen,”which loosely translated means “man life.” So it is not surprising that ginseng is also known as the “root of life”. The ginseng root’s resemblance to the shape of the human body, also further adds to its standing as an effective traditional tonic for male sexual vigour and potency. The Latin name for the species, Panax, is derived from the Greek word “panacea,” which means “cure-all” or “all-healer.” If you string all the words together, ginseng is effectively “the cure-all root of life.”
How can you use Ginseng?
Incorporating ginseng into your diet is easy. By removing the tough outer skin, it reveals a yellow flesh with a strong fragrance. Adding slivers of this immediately unveils a new taste to food and drink. For example, ginseng adds a pleasant herbal flavour when used as a soup base in cooking. It is also used in a lot of Asian cooking. Incorporate some ginseng into your next stir-fry. Alternatively, you could try adding a bit of ginseng to some tea with honey. The result is surprisingly refreshing and spicy at the same time. You can now also pop a pill, as ginseng comes in tablet form like multi- vitamins as well.
What other ailments does ginseng help with?
According to TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine), ginseng helps a variety of ailments, namely:
- Weak pulse
- Lack of appetite
- Rectal prolapse
- Heart failure and heart palpitations.
So the next time you’re feeling a little lethargic or under the weather, have a bit of ginseng and see if it doesn’t do wonders for you as it has since ancient times. However, as with anything, always consult your doctor first before embarking on drastic changes to your diet.
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