The first Chinese encyclopedia of herbal plants, the Shen-nung pen-ts?ao-ching, written sometime in the first century states that ginseng, shinseng, can boost longevity and increase one?s endurance. It also says ginseng is good for “enlightening the mind, and increasing wisdom.”
Interestingly, many ancient cultures on virtually all continents, believed that the shapes of plants were an indicator of their curative powers. We bring this up because shinseng literally translates as “essence of the earth in the form of man”. Take a look at a perfectly formed ginseng root and you?ll see why – the root has a human-like form. The ancient Chinese herbalists took this to mean that ginseng was a panacea for all aspects of human health. This includes those mentioned above and a host of others – restoring memory loss, cutting cholesterol, boosting the immune system, managing blood pressure and preventing the common cold.
Many centuries after the publication of the Shen-nung pen-ts?ao-ching, in 1716, Canadian grown ginseng first landed on Chinese shores. Herbalists quickly took note of the high quality, and soon use of Canadian ginseng in China skyrocketed amongst elite classes of society wealthy enough to afford the imported root.
To this day, ginseng remains as popular, if not more popular as a pathway to general wellness than ever before. Whether brewed into a tea, added to recipes or chewed on its own, the root shaped like a man continues to inspire.