Muhammad Zahaib Ilyas, Dr. Zubair Aslam, Hafeez Ameer, Muhammad Saeed Ahmad*, Tahir Mushtaq and Ahmad Ali
Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan.
*Corresponding author: [email protected]
The word Ginseng, an English word, was derived from the two Chinese words re’nshe–n (re’n mean man and she–n mean type of herb). Later, Linnaeus gave it a botanical name of Panax. The word Panax originated from a Greek word meaning The Cure All. It was discovered about 5000 years ago from the mountains of Manchuria (North China). At that time in China, only royal persons allowed to use Ginseng and non-royalty punished as severe as death.
What is Ginseng?
The root of the plants belongs to the genus Panax. It is a slow growing, short-statured plant with fleshy roots. It normally identified by the existence of gintonin and ginsenosides such as
- South China ginseng (P. notoginseng)
- Korean ginseng ( ginseng)
- American ginseng ( quinquefolius)
Production technology for Panax ginseng:
Ginseng is a self-pollinated and slow growing plant. Flowers develop on the flower stem from the middle of leaf prongs and seed development happens during summer. Kidney shaped berries develop from the swelling of ginseng flowers which mature to an intense red color, independently. This maturation process will not complete until the plant dies down due to very low autumn temperature. The single berry contains one to two (exceptionally three) seeds. In the following season, the seed will germinate if stratified well after seed production.
The seed depth ranges between 5-20mm. If the aim is to transfer the rootlet then plant 5cm apart. Transplant the rootlets to the main field at the age of two years and 20cm apart. This minimizes the risk of fungal attack. If no issue, plant at a distance of about 20-30cm apart. The seed must protect against the attack of insects and vertebrate pests. Mulching proves beneficial. It is very important that soil should be moist not wet at the time of sowing. Land having gentle slope proves beneficial for ginseng.
Quality of soil affects ginseng’s taste. A well-drained, loamy soil which holds water is preferable for ginseng. In the upper layer of soil, organic matter should range between 4-10%. Acidic soil, rich in calcium, having pH ranges from 5.5 to 6.5 is good for nutrient absorption. It is preferable to grow ginseng on the raised beds of about 25-30cm high. Ginseng requires very cold winter (≤ 4 degree Celsius). It requires 75-80% shade. It requires rainfall ranges between 20 and 60 inches, annually. It requires low humidity. Use of deciduous trees’ leaf litter as a mulch prevent moisture loss and it is very good mulch for ginseng.
Forms of Ginseng:
Depending upon the method of processing, there are two types of Ginseng.
- White Ginseng:
It is a fresh Ginseng. First of all, it is peeled and then air-dried in the sunlight to decrease its moisture content up to 12% or less. During the process of drying, enzymes may decompose the therapeutic constituents present in the root. Sun drying gives the root a yellowish- white color.
- Red Ginseng:
It has a red color. First of all, it is peeled, steamed at a boiling temperature of 100oC (standard) and then dried in the sunlight. It is less prone to deterioration than white Ginseng. It is very brittle.
Why Ginseng is superior?
- Regular intake of Panax Ginseng improves memory, thinking, work efficiency, concentration, and physical stamina, prevent muscle damage as a result of vigorous exercise.
- Panax Ginseng uses to improve the immunity level and general well being.
- It is used to cure infections caused by Pseudomonas (bacterium).
- People use it to cure breast cancer, swine flu, anemia, pre-diabetes, chronic bronchitis, fever, fertility problems, hangover, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, AIDS and asthma, to enhance sexual desire in women.
- Some people use it to prevent lung cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer and liver cancer.
- It is used for intestinal problems, bleeding disorders, vomiting, gall-stone, loss of appetite, sleeping problems, bad breath, joint pain, nerve pain, headache, dizziness, hearing loss, pregnancy disorders, convulsions, hot flashes, heart failure, quality of life, high blood pressure and wrinkled skin.
- It is also used in cosmetics, soaps and as a flavoring agent in beverages.