American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is deeply rooted in the North American Herbal tradition and has been a fabled herb of commerce especially in trade with China for over 200 years. A member of the araliaceae (Ivy) family, and in the same genus as Asian or Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng), these two plants are closely related in use, yet American Ginseng has a reputation of being much less stimulating and more "cooling". . Factors such as; habitat fragmentation, total loss of habitat from logging and development, and overharvesting, have led to American Ginseng's demise in the wild. It is considered Threatened or Endangered by the USDA in 10 states. Fortunately, there are many organic growers and conventional Ginseng farms in North America today. American ginseng was much more popular in Chinese than American herbal medicine. Despite that, the root was official in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1842-1882. It was used to tonify digestion, and to support normal energy. Native American’s used the plan regularly and it is mentioned as one of the Seneca tribe’s top 5 medicinal plants. Most tribes used it as an aid in convalescence with the elderly, to tonify the reproductive system, and to normalize arousal and desire in both men and women.
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