Panax pseudoginseng

Panax pseudoginseng

Himalayan Ginseng (Panax pseudoginseng Wall.) Is a herbaceous species belonging to the Araliaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Subclass Asteridae,
Order Apiales,
Araliaceae family,
Subfamily Aralioidae,
Genus Panax,
P. pseudoginseng species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Aralia pseudoginseng (Wall.) Benth .;
– Aralia pseudoginseng (Wall.) Benth. ex C.B.Clarke;
– Aralia quinquefolia var. pseudoginseng (Wall.) Burkill;
– Panax pseudoginseng subsp. pseudoginseng;
– Panax pseudoginseng var. pseudoginseng;
– Panax quinquefolius var. elegantor Burkill;
– Panax quinquefolius var. notoginseng Burkill;
– Panax quinquefolius var. pseudoginseng (Wall.) Burkill;
– Panax schin-seng T. Nees.

Etymology –
The term Panax comes from the Greek πάναξ panax panacea (from πᾶς, πᾶσα, πᾶν pas, pása, pan tutto and from ἀκέια acèia cura, remedy): a remedy for all ills.
The specific epithet pseudoginseng is the union of the terms pseudo- coming in turn from the Greek pseydès “false”, and from the term ginseng which comes from the Chinese rénshēn, from rén ‘man’ + shēn, a kind of herb (for the presumed similarity of the forked root with a person).

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Panax pseudoginseng is a plant native to East Asia, in Neopal.
Its original habitat is that of forests and shrub vegetation, in humid and shady areas, between 2,100 and 4,300 meters in the central areas of Nepal and in the Himalayas.

Description –
Panax pseudoginseng is a perennial herb plant.
It has a short, robust and fleshy tuberous rhizome.
From this a cluster of one or more unbranched stems about 50 cm high is formed.
The leaves are palmate and composed of 3 – 5 leaves arranged in a whorl at the top of the stem.
The flowers are small and yellow-green, gathered in an umbrella with a single terminal. The flowering period is from June to August.
The fruits are berry-shaped drupes, bright red and dark when ripe.
The fruiting period is from August to October.
The seeds are oblate and white.

Cultivation –
Panax pseudo ginseng is a plant widely used as a medicinal herb in East Asia, where it is one of the species commonly used as ginseng. The plant is harvested both in its natural state for local use and commercial purposes and also cultivated for medicinal use, especially in Japan, Korea and China.
This plant native to Nepal and the Himalayas is moderately resistant to cold, able to tolerate winter temperatures that drop from about -15 to -20 ° C.
The plant prefers shady places in rich, moist but generally well-drained woodland soils.
The plant can be propagated by seed which must be placed in a shady position in the cold, preferably as soon as it is ripe, otherwise as soon as the seed is obtained. Germination can be very slow and irregular. The seedlings should be previously placed in small pots, when they are already taken from the seedbed, and grown in a shaded position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. The pots must be deep enough to accommodate the roots; the transplant must be carried out in the open field during the summer.
The plant can also be propagated by division in spring.

Customs and Traditions –
Panax pseudoginseng is a species known by various names such as: Nepalese ginseng and Himalayan ginseng.
The roots of this plant, like all the various species of Panax, are used medicinally.
The plant is used for both edible purposes; young leaves and sprouts are used, which are cooked like a vegetable.
The roots are chewed, used as a flavoring in liqueurs or made into a tea.
The roots of this plant, like all the various species of the genus Panax, are known to be rich in active ingredients useful for medicinal purposes, in particular saponins. All species, especially those of East Asia, are highly valued for their medicinal virtues.
The roots and flowers are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, cardiotonic, diuretic, expectorant, hemostatic, hypoglycemic and stimulant.
The root is used internally in the treatment of indigestion, vomiting, coronary heart disease and angina.
The roots are also used both internally and externally in the treatment of epistaxis, pulmonary, digestive tract and uterine hemorrhages and injuries.
The roots are harvested in autumn, preferably from 6-7 year old plants, and can be used fresh or dried.
The flowers are instead used to treat dizziness and balance difficulties.
No other or alternative uses are known.

Preparation Method –
Panax pseudoginseng is a plant whose roots are used which are considered most effective if harvested around 6 – 7 years.
The roots, after this period, are harvested in autumn and can be used fresh or dried.
The roots are also used chewed, as a flavoring in liqueurs or made into a tea.
The flowers, young leaves and buds are also collected; the young leaves and sprouts are cooked like a vegetable.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.




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