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Panax ginseng, Panax quinquefolius
Ginseng boosts mood and memory while alleviating the effects of fatigue, stress, and exhaustion. It also enhances your body’s immune response, helping to ward off bacteria and viruses. When choosing ginseng, be aware that Siberian ginseng is a separate species with different properties than those offered by Korean and American
Parts Used: Root
Precautions: Do not use ginseng during pregnancy. If you have high blood pressure, consult your doctor before using ginseng.
Identifying/ Growing: A whole ginseng root has an almost human shape, with a forked bottom and sides. Mature plants grow in deciduous forests and are between 10 and 20 inches tall, bearing red berries that drop off to form new plants. If you wildcraft ginseng, be sure to plant these berries. If you live in a cool, temperate climate and have access to a shady patch of deciduous trees, you may be able to grow ginseng. Begin by having your soil tested. Ginseng grows best at pH levels between 4 and 7. Order ginseng seeds when you have found a suitable site, and plant them according to the accompanying instructions, which should include notes on stratification and sprouting. Your ginseng will take between 4 and 8 years to grow to harvest size. Be aware that ginseng harvest is tightly regulated in many areas. You may need to obtain a license or permit, so check local regulations before proceeding.