Benefits of American Ginseng

When you’re first becoming aware of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) pharmacopeia, one of the first things you’ll likely hear about is Ginseng. It was discovered in China more than 4,900 years ago in the mountains near Manchuria. It was considered a powerful indication of the harmony between mankind and the earth’s healing properties due to the fact that ginseng, a root, (kind of) resembles the human form. As you can see, the part of this plant that is used is the root. The fact that this herb revealed itself to bear enlivening “powers,” no doubt led to its sacred recognition as an ally for the body. The Chinese root Panax Ginseng has strengthening and recuperative properties, but is also very heating – it’s exciting and good for libido. For those who want the benefits of Ginseng, such as:


American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolium) is recognized as an adaptogen

Known for its ability to bring the body-mind back into balance after long periods of stress.

But maybe need a softer, settled energy then you might want to become acquainted with American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolium) aka Xi Yang Shen in TCM. It’s recommended for Yin Deficiencies and strengthens the lungs, heart, and kidneys; it’s seen to be especially helpful for those with insomnia, night-sweats, and anxiety. 

Fun Fact: American Ginseng (Xi Yang Shen) was discovered in North America by a Jesuit priest who happened to be in the company of the Iroquois in Ontario.

“Panax comes from the Greek for “panacea” meaning “all healing.”

In the Ginseng family there are American, Korean, Chinese and Siberian ginsengs. A Chinese text dating from the First Century A.D. describes ginseng as “enlightening to the mind and increasing the wisdom.” Russian folklore promotes ginseng as a stimulant and immunity booster. Ginseng is believed to enhance physical and mental endurance, increase energy, reduce cholesterol, to support adrenal function, to reduce stress and regulate blood sugar.” —courtesy of Austin Nutritional research

In a 2010 study, they came to see that, even though few have been done to date, there were indications that “potential cognitive enhancement” was an aspect of P. quinquefolius

“One study observed that scopolamine-associated spatial learning impairment in rats was partially reversed by P. quinquefolius, which also increased choline uptake in synaptosomal preparations (Sloley et al. 1999). However despite established associations between memory and cholinergic function and despite its high ginsenoside content, studies into the psychogenic benefits of P. quinquefolius in humans have not previously been conducted. <<< This is sufficient evidence to suggest that P. quinquefolius can improve cognitive function with similar or greater benefits than its Chinese cousin.

How to take: It’s available in capsule, tincture and liquid form at health food grocers or whole herb apothecaries. You can try fresh or dried root, too: make tea, or add to soup broth. 

  • There are No Contraindications: American ginseng is believed to be safe. However, side effects or symptoms of over-dosage of American Ginseng to look for: high blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.
  • Choose Proper, responsible cultivators: Avoid wild gathering. Some plants are endangered species.