Asian ginseng comes from the plant Panax Ginseng whose botanical name is derived from the Greek word panacea, meaning "cures everything" and the word ginseng meaning "man-like"due to its appearance of some roots. Ginseng has been known as herbal medicines, called as "longevity grass", used in the Asian countries as a tonic, fatigue relief, preventing aging, improvement of circulation, protecting liver, etc. for thousands years.
When it comes to ginseng farming, Korea is generally evaluated to be suited best for cultivation of ginseng in term of climate, soil and other natural environment.
Ginseng is not all the same. The Korean ginseng species is Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer. C.A. Meyer, a 18th century botanist, called it Panax Ginseng. And Panax Ginseng is originated from Korea and China. Panax Ginseng C.A. Meyer has been known as the only species with which lots of pharmacological trials have been carried out.
The main ingredient of ginseng which has pharmacological effects are the unique Saponin. The Saponin of ginseng is called "Ginsenoside". It is known that there are over 30 kinds.
It is also known that the red ginseng has several new saponins which are not included in the white ginseng. These new saponins are known to have strong pharmacological effects. ("White" ginseng is a naturally dried one. "Red" ginseng is the one which is steam-heated for hours. It looks dark reddish brown.)
There have been some Chinese old expressions showing pharmacological effects of ginseng. (Korea Ginseng Academy) They are as below :
1) Recover strength, saves health : Recovers the weak health.
2) Helps blood, restore pulse : Vitalizes blood formation and makes it circulate smoothly
3) Good heart, calm health : Calms the mind.
4) Life continues, relieves thirst : allots the body fluid and relieves thirst.
5) Supplements lung, good for respiratory : Strengthens the lung and is good for respiration.
6) Strengthens digestion : Strengthens the digestive organs.