Panax Quinquefolius plant (American Ginseng)
An herbaceous perennial plant, the Panax Quinquefolius also known as American Ginseng, is shrub with slow growth and attains a height of 25 to 50 centimetres. They are characterized by the whirling leaves. The compound leaves are divided into leaflets, and the palmates are leaflets that originate from the centre. After about three years of age, they produce three to five compound leaves. Each compound leaf consists of three to seven leaflets, which grow up to 5 to 10 centimeters. The colour of the leaves goes from bright green in summer to yellow in autumn. The upper leaflets are bigger than the lower ones. The wedge-shaped leaflets have serrated edges and taper to a point.
A stalk measuring 5 – 13 centimeters consists of four to forty flowers that grow in a cluster. The greenish white flowers consist of short stamens, which is the male part and a style, which is the female part, which is divided into two. The flower also carries the pollen-bearing structures called anthers, which are oblong in shape.
The Panax Quinquefolius bears bright red fruits with white seeds. The root is spindle-shaped and approximately ten centimeters in length. Older roots get forked into branches.
Botanical Name and Family
Botanical Name: Panax Quinquefolius
Geological Area where Panax Quinquefolius grows
Originating from the temperate forest areas of North America, it is grown in partially shaded or fully shaded areas. It requires a medium amount of water and is a low maintenance plant. It requires fertile soil, which is naturally rich and moist. Although native to North America, it is now classified as an endangered species as it has completely disappeared from the wild areas in a lot of places. It does not attract insects or suffer from any disease. Although native to North America, it is also very famous in China. Once a wild plant, it is now rarely found in the wild.
The Chinese have been using Ginseng for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes. When the demand in China began to exceed the supply, the Chinese started importing it from America. However, due to over harvesting, became almost extinct. Now, American Ginseng is grown primarily for the export market.
Medicinal Uses of Panax Quinquefolius
- The Panax Quinquefolius has always been a popular herbal medicine.
- American Ginseng is used to prepare a calming tonic for stress related problems.
- It is used to regularize bodily functions.
- Also, i tis used to cure ailments caused by physiological stress.
- It appears to have anti-diabetic properties.
- It improves working memory and mood in young individuals as well as adults.
- It has shown anti-cancer properties that may suppress tumor growth. It has shown potential in treating colorectal cancer.
- There have also been used for the treatment of persistent cold and respiratory afflictions.
The American Ginseng is not advisable for everybody especially for pregnant women, new mothers and those individuals suffering from liver-related complaints. Always check with a doctor to see if it will be safe before using this for any medical purpose.
In recent times, owing to its popularity, American Ginseng is now being cultivated in many other parts of the world.