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Vondrell, R - American ginseng

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 5 months ago

American Ginseng

 

 www.mdidea.com/products/proper/proper005.html     

 

 

Why did I pick this plant? I picked this plant because I am slightly addicted to energy drinks. Ginseng is one of the featured ingredients in almost any energy beverage that you may purchase. Another point of interest is it’s decreasing population in the Athens area, more generally the Appalachia.

 

 

 

Due to the plant’s sudden popularity, it is being over harvested in an area where it used to grow quite abundantly. The American Ginseng plant has a straight stem which produces leaves in a circle around it. The leaves produced are umbrella-shaped, yellow-greenish in color, grow in the center and produce berries. You are able to tell how old a plant is by the wrinkles around the neck of the root. This is important, especially for anyone growing this plant commercially. American Ginseng plant is not ready for commercial use until it is at least four to six years old. (Johannsen, 2006)

 

 

 

Botanical Name: Panax quiquefolius

 

According to the World Wildlife Category, the habitat of American Ginseng is Temperate Broadleaf & Mixed Forests. Pictured here is the Appalachian mixed mesophytic forest.  

 

http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/photos/na/na0402a.html

 

 

 

Amersdican Ginseng is primaryily found Eastern North America, but can also be found throughout the Midwest and South East, as can be seen in the map below. These are all areas that Ginseng is native to, as well.

 

plants.usda.gov/                       

 

 

American Ginseng is an herbaceous perennial. This means that it takes more than one year for the plant to complete its life cycle. It was quite common, especially in Ontario, Quebec and Wisconsin. Now however, due to over harvesting, wild American ginseng is quite rare and is considered and endangered species. The export of truly wild American Ginseng is Canada is illegal.  (Novelli, 2003)

 

 

 

One reason for the increased interest in exporting wild ginseng is the active ingredients obtained from its root. These are called ginsenosides, which are a kind of saponins. They are considered adaptogens, which simply means that they are able to help regulate and balance body functions. It is also able to increase capacity in order to adjust to stress! There are some ginsenoside compounds that can decrease blood pressure, while there are others that can increase it! There is current research on the affects of ginseng on diabetes. It is hypothesized that it may have an effect on the symptoms of adult-onset diabetes. (UMM, 2007)

 

 

 

There is a rich history in traditional Chinese medicine with North American Gingseng. It is believed to relieve stress and calm the body. Although active compounds have been identified in Ginseng, it is not recognized presently by Western pharmacology. It is only used in herbal and health food applications, most noticeably the recent boost in energy supplements. (Novelli, 2003)

 

 http://www.oldtimeherbs.com/_derived/american%20ginseng%20products%20and%20prices%20.htm_txt_new_pa1.gi

 


 

 

 

 

American Ginseng

 

Rebecca Vondrell

 

American Ginseng is an herbaceous perennial. This means that it takes more than one year for the plant to complete its life cycle. According to the World Wildlife Category, the habitat of American Ginseng is Temperate Broadleaf & Mixed Forests. American Ginseng is native to Eastern North America, but has spread and is being grown throughout the Midwest and South East. It was quite common, especially in Ontario, Quebec and Wisconsin. However, the majority of Ginseng is found in the Appalachian. The areas in which it is found are colored green on the map below.

plants.usda.gov/java/profilesymbol=PAQU      

This area provides the shady wooded areas with rich soils and a natural cold/warm cycle that the plant needs to prepare its seeds for germination. It will grow on North- and East-facing slopes in porous humus-rich soil. It can also grow on Southwest-facing slope with sandy or clay soils, but shady areas and loamy soil are best (CCM, 2008).

 

Due to the plant’s sudden popularity, it is being over harvested in an area where it used to grow quite abundantly. The American Ginseng plant has a straight stemwhich produces leaves in a circle around it. The leaves produced are umbrella-shaped, yellow-greenish in color, grow in the center and produce berries. You are able to tell how old a plant is by the wrinkles around the neck of the root. This is important, especially for anyone growing this plant commercially. American Ginseng plant is not ready for commercial use until it is at least four to six years old. (Johannsen, 2006) Because of its increased industrial use, more and more people are hunting the plant in the wild, using the above characteristics to spot it. They can sometimes be confused with Virginia creeper or a young hickory (Nix, 2008).

 

The biggest factor affecting Ginseng’s growth in its habitat seems to be the influence of humans. The area of wild uninhibited forests is shrinking continually. According to Greenfacts.org, 73,000 square kilometers of forestation is lost per year. These forests provide the shaded area that American Ginseng needs to grow. If these continue to shrink, so does the area in which American Ginseng can grow. Smaller areas result in more competition among plants and less chance for survival. This is a factor affecting many plants, not just American Ginseng. More steps should be taken to protect our forests and the wildlife that resides in them.

Not only is human expansion affecting American Ginseng’s habitat but now however, due to over harvesting, wild American ginseng is quite rare and is considered an endangered species. The export of truly wild American Ginseng is Canada is illegal  (Novelli, 2003).  Wild Ginseng is ginseng that has not been planted; it grows naturally and can be harvested from wherever it is found growing. It is considered superior to cultivated Ginseng because it tends to be larger and more nutritious (Johannsen, 2006). One of the main problems with wild ginseng being collected in such large quantities and so quickly is that it takes up to four years to reach maturity. Basically the plant is being harvested quicker than it can grow. Not only should measures be taken to preserve forests, as mentioned above, but measures should also be taken to prevent people from removing wild American Ginseng. There is a growing tend of people removing American Ginseng from protected forests in order to sell it for profit.

 

 

One reason for the increased interest in exporting wild ginseng is the active ingredients obtained from its root. These are called ginsenosides, which are a kind of saponins. They are considered adaptogens, which simply means that they are able to help regulate and balance body functions. It is also able to increase capacity in order to adjust to stress! There are some ginsenoside compounds that can decrease blood pressure, while there are others that can increase it! There is current research on the affects of ginseng on diabetes. It is hypothesized that it may have an effect on the symptoms of adult-onset diabetes. (UMM, 2007) There is a rich history in traditional Chinese medicine with North American Gingseng. It is believed to relieve stress and calm the body. Although active compounds have been identified in Ginseng, it is not recognized presently by Western pharmacology. It is only used in herbal and health food applications, most noticeably the recent boost in energy supplements (Novelli, 2003).

 

 

Although its uses are important, it is also very important to keep wild ginseng alive. It plays a part in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forest

ecosystem in which it grows. It serves both as a part of the chemical cycles in the environment but also as food for numerous animals, including rodents and deer. It is important that any plant does not go extinct from nature. Even with growing in cultivated farm areas, it will still be considered extinct to an extent because it will not be growing in the wild. If its extraction from the wild continues at this rate, the only place you will be able find ginseng is cultivated for exportation or listed as an ingredient on the shelf at the grocery store. 

 

 


Bibliography

 

            American Ginseng: How to se this magic tonic from the past. [Internet] (updated 2007). MDidea (cited February 18, 2008). Available from www.mdidea.com/products/proper/proper005.html     

 

             Appalachian Mixed Mesophytic Forests. Photograph by Michael Condon. [Internet]  (cited February 18, 2008). Available from http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/photos/na/na0402a.html

 

 

Conservation Commission of Missouri, MDC 2008. [Internet] Accessed March 2, 2008.Available from http://mdc.mo.gov

 

 

 

Johannsen, Kristin. 2006. Ginseng Dreams: the Secret World of America’s Most Valuable Plant. Lexington (KY): University Press of Kentucky.

 

 

 

Nix, Steve. 2008. American Ginseng in Eastern Forests. http://Forestry.About.com accessed March 2, 2008.

 

 

 

Novelli, Sergio 2003. Ginseng from Canada. Bi-weekly Bulletin Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Volume 16, No. 5.

 

Available from:  www.agr.gc.ca (last updated October 2007)

 

 

           United States Department of Agriculture: Natural Resources Conservation Science. [Internet].  (cited February 18, 2008) Available from http://plants.usda.gov/

 

University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM). [Internet] (updated 2007). University of Maryland Medical System (cited February 18, 2008). Available from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/american-ginseng-000248.htm

 

 

            American Ginseng: How to use this magic tonic from the past. [Internet] (updated 2007). MDidea (cited February 18, 2008). Available from www.mdidea.com/products/proper/proper005.html     

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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