Native American Indians (First Nations) used ginseng root in their traditional medicines for thousands of years. In 1704, Jesuit priests discovered ginseng near Lake Huron in Canada and the culture of ginseng in this region began and developed. Around 1716, the first shipments of ginseng roots were sent to China. There was a time when the ginseng trade rivaled the fur. Canadian ginseng known for its high quality is very popular with Asian who consider it a panacea against disease.
Properties of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
Ginseng contains a number of active ingredients including saponosides, also called ginsenosides, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The saponosides or ginsenosides are the most active components of ginseng and more than 25 different types have been identified. Only 6 or 7 of them seem to have therapeutic significance, the others would make ginsenosides more active, more soluble, more absorbable and more available to the body. The ginsenosides are present throughout the plant, but they are more concentrated in the root.
Therapeutic benefits of North American ginseng:
According to recent research conducted at universities and laboratories in Canada, North American ginseng taken regularly:
- Strengthens the immune system;
- Regulates the concentration of sugar in the blood;
- Reduces sugar levels in diabetes type 2;
- Reduces hypertension;
- Increases energy;
- Improves memory;
- Reduces stress and fatigue;
- Slows aging;
- Relieves pain and side effects after surgery or chemotherapy;
- Balances the hormonal system of the body;
- The American Botanical Council Clinical Guide to Herbs (2003) says that there are no known side effects regarding the use of North American ginseng. The North American ginseng is sold as a natural health product in Canada (Department of Natural Health Products, NHPD)