Ginseng Root Facts, Science, and Medicine - Duke's Materia Tonica

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Classification: Tonic
Category: Adaptogen
Grade: Dietary Supplement
Tastes: Sweet, Bitter
Used By: Male, Female, Young Adult to Elderly
Usage: Soup, Tea, Powder, Capsule, Tincture
Benefits: Digestive, Vitalizing; Reviving; Immunity, Cognitive, Hormonal, Sexuality



Ginseng root is the premier energy tonic herb. The Latin name 'Panax' comes from the word 'panacea' which means 'all-healing'. The Chinese name literally means 'man root' and embodies the energy of the human spirit.

Several varieties of ginseng exist around the world and all contain 'ginsenosides' or saponins, which are plant sterols similar to cholesterol. All parts of the plant contain ginsenosides, but they are concentrated highest in the roots.

Confusingly, there are loosely named herbs that include the name 'ginseng', but they do not contain ginsenosides and are not a species of ginseng such as Siberian ginseng which is eleuthero.

Names of commonly available types of ginseng, the botanical species, and predominant harvest regions:

  • Asian ginseng - Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer
    • Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese
  • American ginseng - Panax quinquefolius L
    • American, Canadian
  • Pseudoginseng - Panax notoginseng
    • Chinese

Ginseng grows wild, semi-wild, and commercially in gardens and on farms in Asia and North America. Asian and American ginseng roots are typically harvested, trimmed, and dried at six years old for maximum ginsenoside content.

Cultures: Asian and North American.
Sources: Asia, including Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Mongolia. Also cultivated in North America, including Canada and the United States. Grown in shaded gardens in China, shaded mountain farms in Korea, and on shaded farms in mid-west and eastern North America.
Types: Most common are Asian panax ginseng and notoginseng and North American ginseng. Japanese ginseng, Vietnamese ginseng, and Mongolian ginseng are more uncommon.



Ginseng has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese and Native Americans.

Energy is its most common usage, namely, re-energizing weak and fatigued bodies and minds. Ginseng also promotes efficient digestion and hormone production, in order to strengthen the body, so it can endure mental and physical stress.

All varieties of ginseng work similarly due to the ginsenosides within them. These are plant sterols which are very similar in structure to cholesterol and to human adrenal and sex hormones.

Ginsenosides can be either invigorating or calming. Different species have different amounts of either type of ginsenosides within their spectrum.

  • Asian ginseng is often steamed red with jujube dates tea to preserve and activate the invigorating ginsenosides.
  • American ginseng contains the most ginsenosides of any species and has more of the calming ginsenosides.
  • Notoginseng contains ginsenosides that predominantly invigorate the circulatory system and stop bleeding.

Nearly anyone can use ginseng, except children and ill people. Other tonics are more appropriate for kids such as astragalus. Ginseng is recommended after a bout of flu or cold, for its rejuvenation of body and mind.

Modern research shows that a minimum of five or six years of growth is required for maximum ginsenoside content and full growth-size of the roots. The larger the roots, the more ginsenosides.

Liquid extractions of ginseng roots are superior to all other forms of it, due to them being ‘heat-activated’ in a clay pot called a ‘ginseng cooker’.




Constituents: Ginsenosides; flavonoids; phenols; polysaccharides; Vitamin A; B vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7 and B12; Biotin; Choline; amino acids including L-arginine; minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium; trace minerals such as germanium and manganese. 


Organs: Brain, Genitals, Heart, Kidney, Liver, Lungs, Spleen/Stomach
Glands: Adrenal, Hypothalamus, Pancreas, Pituitary, Sex, Thyroid
Systems: Cardiovascular, Immune, Nervous, Parasympathetic, Sympathetic



What does Ginseng do?

The nutrients in ginseng work with the body to support, promote and maintain energy, stamina, endurance, stress-tolerance and stress-resistance, cognition, memory, mood, digestion, circulation, sex and adrenal hormones, immune function, sexual function, and healthy skin, joints and nails.

Energy and Stress

Ginseng's constituents, such as B vitamins, ginsenosides, and germanium, support support energy production from food and the balancing of blood sugars after meals and all day for stable energy levels. Ginseng promotes stress-tolerance, greater work endurance and higher physical and mental performance. Choose Chinese and Korean panax ginseng for work and sports performance; and choose American ginseng for stress-tolerance and mental stamina.


Ginseng raises metabolism and promotes the digestion, absorption, and utilization of food, air, water and any other supplements taken with it. Every ginseng boosts digestion.


Ginseng constituents, such as certain ginsenosides, L-arginine, minerals, phenols and flavonoids, benefit blood circulation. These constituents help produce nitric oxide for vascular blood pressure and circulation performance benefits. All ginsengs enhance circulation, but pseudoginseng is the best. 

Cognition, Memory and Mood

Ginseng constituents benefit both the brain and nervous system. In particular, ginsenosides promote cognition, memory, and increase well-being, mood and sociability. All ginsengs improve mental performance and sociability, especially American and wild panax ginseng.


Ginsenosides, being structurally similar to adrenal and sex hormones, support the production of adrenal hormones for stress tolerance and the production of sex hormones; including testosterone in males, and estrogen and progesterone balance in females. All ginsengs benefits hormones, but those highest in ginsenosides, such as American ginseng and Korean Heaven 10-20 grade panax ginseng, are the best choices.

Sexual Enhancement

Sexual interest and performance is enhanced with ginseng. Combining the feel-good and aphrodisiac benefits with the circulation and nerve benefits yields a prime sex tonic for sexually active people. Physical performance is facilitated by better nerve sensitivity and better pelvic circulation in women, and healthier erection blood-flow and rigidity in men. Any ginseng will assist sexual performance and interest.

Immune Function

Ginseng contains polysaccharides and the trace mineral germanium that support the strength of the immune system. All ginsengs benefit immunity.

Skin, Joint and Nail Health

Ginseng supports better protein digestion and metabolism which assists the growth and development of protein structures in the body that require collagen, such as the skin, nails and joints. Any ginseng will benefit digestion and protein assimilation.


Available Products:

Panax Red Ginseng

A bitter-sweet tonic made from six year steamed red panax ginseng roots for an invigorating energy which is stabilized by the addition of jujube date fruit for smooth long lasting performance at work and play.

Panax Ginseng product page.

 American Ginseng

American ginseng is an affordable variety of ginseng that is higher in the antioxidant relaxing ginsenosides so that it promotes ease-of wellbeing.

American Ginseng product page.

Korean Ginseng

Panax ginseng grown in the mineral rich soils of the Korean mountains. The largest roots, known as Heaven 10-20 grade, are extra sweet and produce the most ginsenosides for maximum potency. Harvested at 6-10 years. A small amount of jujube date fruit is added to smooth the energy.

Korean Ginseng product page.


Heaven Ginseng

Changbai Mountain is known as 'Heaven Mountain.' Made from semi-wild 15 year ginseng and large grade Chinese ginseng grown for 10 years on the slopes of Changbai Mountain. 'Semi-wild' means the ginseng plant has a dedicated caretaker overseeing it's growth. Adding wild ginseng adds trace minerals, like germanium, for better oxygenation and a greater balance of ginsenosides that are uplifting to the mind, body, and spirit.

Heaven Ginseng product page.


The Starter Pack

Bundled and discounted pack of the four premier tonics: Panax Ginseng, Deer Antler Velvet, Reishi Mushroom and Goji Berry.

Starter Pack with Panax Ginseng product page.


The Starter Pack Version 2

Bundled and discounted pack of the four premier tonics: American Ginseng, Deer Antler Velvet, Reishi Mushroom and Goji Berry.

Starter Pack with American Ginseng product page.


Athlex Ginseng for Women

Athletic sex ginseng formulation for performance in the gym, during the game, and in the bed. Uses three types of ginseng, panax ginseng, heaven 10-20 grade Korean ginseng, and pseudoginseng. Also includes hormone and circulation tonics to benefit female sexual performance. May also be taken by men for extra adrenal hormone stamina and rigid erections.

Athlex Ginseng for Women product page.


Athlex Ginseng for Men

Athletic sex ginseng formulation for performance in the gym, during the game, and in the bed. Uses three types of ginseng, panax ginseng, heaven 10-20 grade Korean ginseng, and pseudoginseng. Also includes blood pumping tonics to support muscles and more effective, larger and rigid erections.

Athlex Ginseng for Men product page.