American Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius is an amazing herb with 100’s of years of use. One day at the office, a gentleman from Burmeister Ginseng company came and told me the story of Ginseng and their company…
In the late 1800’s, a Jesuit priest went to China. He learned how the Chinese revered Ginseng for it’s many medicinal properties and sent word back to see if the Americas had any similar species. We do.
Word got around that Ginseng was worth its weight in gold. This brought thousands of ginseng hunters take to the woods to harvest the wild ginseng. Eventually, the wild stocks were over-harvested and the scarcity caused great grandfather Burmeister to find a way to farm American Ginseng.
In 1909, the Burmeister Ginseng company was formed in Marathon County Wisconsin. It is the world’s top producer of cultivated American Ginseng. It’s legacy has been passed down through generations. One of the Burmeister grandsons shared with me that the American Ginseng species is of better quality then the Chinese. In fact, many Chinese buy American ginseng from them, and end up selling their Chinese ginseng to the Americans!
The taxonomic name for American Ginseng is, Panas quinquefolius, which means: panax means “all cure”, and quinquefolius refers to the plants five leaves. It has traditionally been used as a stress reliever and energy enhancer. The American ginseng has adaptogenic qualities. Adaptogen describes medicinal plants that help normalize bodily functions. They are plants that are non-toxic, physiologically harmless, and aid the human body to adapt to and resist environmental stresses. American Ginseng is one of nature’s strongest adaptogens. It contains 21 different organic chemical compounds, called ginsenosides. These compounds work mainly within the human endocrine system to help regulate hormones.
Importance of the Endocrine System
The Endocrine system should not be under-estimated. It’s influence on the body is vast. It secrete hormones that affect blood sugar, growth rate, mood, blood pressure, immune response, sexual potency, and nutrient uptake. It is apparent that hormonal imbalances can cause a miriad of health problems. The ginsenosides in American Ginseng act in several ways to help regulate the endocrine system. Some act as hormonal building blocks. They are actually precursor chemicals which the endocrine system uses to make more complex hormonal chemicals. Other ginsenosides are phytohormones or plant based chemicals that act like human hormones. These bypass the endocrine system and complement existing hormone levels.
Difference Between American and Asian Ginseng
Besides being different species, they have different ginsenosidal profiles. According to Chinese medicine, Asian ginseng contains ginsenosides that stimulate the system, which has a warming affect on the human body. It is not recommended for continuous use, but rather ingested for a period followed by a period of rest. However, the American Ginseng can be taken continuously with no adverse affects. American Ginseng is also more potent. Asian ginseng averages 208% ginsenosides, whereas American ginseng contains approximately 8-14%.
Herbs4You carries Burmeister Ginseng in granules, instant tea, and capsule forms.
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Burmeister Ginseng brochure, Wausau, WI
About the Author
Amy Willis M.H.