American ginseng's botanical name, Panax, is from the Greek word for panacea, or "all healing". Often referred to as an adaptogen, an herb that helps the body cope with various types of stress, American ginseng has been shown effective in treating a wide array of conditions. The plant has leaves that grow in a circle around a straight stem. It has a yellowish-green, umbrellashaped flower that grows in the center and produces red berries.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia,
West Virginia, entire East Coast
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antispasmodic, antitumor, hypotensive, and used to treat stress, anemia, HIV/AIDS, dysentery, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, hardening of the arteries, memory loss
For all conditions, steam the root for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened. Slice thinly and eat on salad or by itself. You can also eat it raw, though it is woody. For all ailments, you may also make a decoction. Boil, covered, a 1-inch piece of American ginseng root in 1 gallon water for 2 hours. Remove from heat, and strain. Drink one-half of the decoction each day for two consecutive days. You can reuse this root. Chop before the second use. To store ginseng, pour honey over the sliced roots, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
AMERICAN GINSENG TINCTURE
Makes 3 cups
American Ginseng tinctures are often used by women to increase estrogen levels and alleviate the symptoms associated with menopause. This tincture is also said to be beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes, helping to lower the blood glucose levels. To make this tincture, you will need a 24-ounce jar with lid for this recipe.
1 cup fresh chopped American ginseng root 3 cups 100-proof vodka
¥ Pack a jar one-third full with fresh American ginseng root. Pour in 100-proof vodka to nearly fill the jar. Tightly screw on the lid, and store in a cool, dark place. Allow to sit for one month, shaking the jar each day.
¥ Strain through cheesecloth, unbleached hemp, or muslin, and store sealed or in droppers.