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Vasiliy Sobolev
Vasiliy Sobolev

Buy Malaysian Ginseng

The herbal marketplace has been subjected frequently to a variety of strategies calculated to promote product sales, rather than to advance the science and understanding of medicinal plants and their appropriate applications. In some particularly egregious cases, the appellation "ginseng" has been abused by uninformed or even unscrupulous peddlers of herbal preparations, who clearly seek to cash in on the reputation of the legendary Asian root.

buy malaysian ginseng


Ginseng, or, in Chinese, ren-shen, has been translated roughly as "man-root." Fulder states that the Chinese characters for ginseng, both the common name and specific epithet for Asian or Oriental ginseng, represent ideas rather than sounds.1Ren embraces multiple concepts, including "the spirit of man or the shape and dimensions of man. Shen, Sêng, or sang means root, but also a 'crystallization of the essence of the earth'." Hu in her 1976 review explained, "Sêng is . . . a term used by Chinese medicinal plant collectors for all fleshy [rootstocks] used as tonic."2 She also listed 22 species of Sêng-producing plants from 12 genera in seven plant families of the Dicotyledoneae from Volume 1 of the Chinese Materia Medica. In a subsequent letter to botanist and author Steven Foster,3 Hu further expanded her list of Sêngs to 62 species in 40 genera of 20 families. Only products derived from Panax species are properly termed gin-seng. Unfortunately, Siegel, in his infamous article4 referring to a supposed Ginseng Abuse Syndrome,5 stated erroneously that "the term 'ginseng' can refer to any of 22 related plants."

American ginseng (P. quinquefolius* L., Araliaceae) and dwarf or groundnut (peanut) ginseng (P. trifolius* L.) are native to North America. Asian ginsengï was first named Panax schin-seng T. Nees in 1833 by T.F.L. Nees van Esenbeck. In 1842, Carl Anton Meyer renamed the species Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer. Duke noted, "There are only about a dozen species of Panax in the world," and listed nine.6

The most commercially important species of ginseng, after P. ginseng and P. quinquefolius, is P. notoginseng (Burkill) F.H. Chen ex C.Y. Wu & K.M. Feng, commonly called Tienchi or Sanchi ginseng (in Chinese pinyin, tien qi or san qi). This species was formerly referred to as P. pseudoginseng Wall. var. notoginseng (Burkill) G. Hoo & C.J. Tseng. References to at least seven additional Panax taxa may be found, which were formerly designated as varieties or subspecies of P. pseudoginseng Wall.7

The most prominent pretender to the mantle of "ginseng" is so-called "Siberian ginseng," now known by the standardized common name of eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim.).ï Also a member of the family Araliaceae, as are the Panax species, the root of this plant is claimed to exert similar effects on the body.10 In addition to the more appropriate common designation of eleuthero (generally preferred by the botanically knowledgeable), the plant has also been referred to as "Russian," "spiny," or "eleuthero ginseng," as well as eleutherococcus, prickly or spiny eleutherococc, touch-me-not, devil's bush, Ussurian thorny pepperbush, taiga, and wild pepper. The term Manchurian ginseng may also relate to eleuthero. Eleutherococcus gracilistylus (W.W. Sm.) S.Y. Hu has also been termed "prickly ginseng."

Eleuthero is not a "Sêng-producing" plant since it has a woody, not fleshy, rootstock. Further, as noted earlier, only roots of Panax species may legitimately be termed "ginseng," as now required by recent legislation in the United States, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002.11,12 Hu3 states that use of the appellation "Siberian ginseng," which first appeared associated with eleuthero imported into the United States in the 1970s, was a marketing stratagem intended to capitalize on the popularity of traditional ginseng.13 It was subsequently adopted as an accepted common name in commerce by the now-defunct Herb Trade Association in the late 1970s,14 and then dropped by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) in favor of the now-preferred term eleuthero in AHPA's Herbs of Commerce,15 its first attempt to standardize common names for popular herbs in the U.S. market. This publication, superceded in 2000 by a second revised and expanded edition,16 was adopted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the official standard for common names for commercial herb products.17 It is possible that the second volume will also be so recognized.

The term "ginseng" has been further attached to a bewildering array of qualifications ï national, geographic, color, among others ï for a stunning variety of non-araliaceous species (see Table 2).

A somewhat common component of "multi-ginseng" formulations is suma (Hebanthe eriantha (Poir.) Pederson, syn. Pfaffia paniculata (Mart.) Kuntze, Amaranthaceae), which is also called "Brazilian" or "South American ginseng." Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal), Solanaceae) has been sold as "Indian" or "Ayurvedic ginseng." The Indian herb jeevani (Trichopus zeylanicus Gaert., Dioscoreaceae) has also been referred to as "Indian ginseng."18 Because of use of its roots to promote stamina and fertility, the recently popularized maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp., Brassicaceae) is referred to as "Peruvian ginseng" or "Ginseng of the Andes."19 And in the 1970s, canaigre or tanner's dock (Rumex hymenosepalus Torr., Polygonaceae) was advanced as "wild red American ginseng" or "wild red desert ginseng."20

An advanced search on in early December 2002 for "Southern ginseng" resulted in 183 commercial and educational sites that discuss or market gynostemma (Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Thunb.) Makino, Cucurbitaceae), called jiao gu lan in Chinese pinyin, as "Southern ginseng" ï a term that has also been applied to P. notoginseng. This perennial Oriental liana contains ginsenosides.8 G. pentaphyllum is the only non-Panax species known to contain these compounds. Pseudostellaria (Pseudostellaria heterophylla (Miq.) Pax, Caryophyllaceae) has been sold as "prince's" or "lesser ginseng."21 Fulder identifies "bastard ginseng" as Campanunoea pilosule,1 although it should be given as Campanumoea pilosula Franch., Campanulaceae. Foster identifies this species by its basionym (Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf., Campanulaceae).22

Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides (L.) Michx., Berberidaceae) has been offered as both "blue" and "yellow ginseng."23 Other species, such as adenophora (Adenophora triphylla (Thunb. ex Murray) A. DC., Campanulaceae), glehnia (Glehnia littoralis F. Schmidt ex Miq., Apiaceae), fo-ti (Polygonum multiflorum Thunb., Polygonaceae), Chinese salvia (Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, Lamiaceae), and species in the genus Scrophularia, Scrophulariaceae, have reportedly also been sold as "ginseng."21 Fong also reports that even the peel of tangerine (Citrus reticulata Blanco, Rutaceae) has been sold as "ginseng"!21

Toward the end of 1999, a Malaysian company introduced "Malaysian ginseng" to Singapore, the Middle East, and Europe. An internet document stated, "Ginseng is more well-known worldwide, as such we introduced Tongkat Ali as a type of root that has the [same] nutritional value as ginseng."24 Apparently, tongkat ali (which translates to "Ali's staff or walking stick") is a generic term for plants used as aphrodisiacs and tonics in Malaysia.25 Foster has identified a number of prominent source plants for tongkat ali including, Eurycoma longifolia Jack, Simarubaceae; Grewis umbellata Roxb., Tiliaceae; Polyalthia bullata King, Annonaceae; and Smilax calophylla Wall., Liliaceae or Smilaxaceae,25 but further research indicates the first species in this list of prospects is involved in the commercial venture.

* Linnaeus used the neuter forms quinquefolium and triflolium for these specific epithets, but Panax is masculine, requiring the 'ius' ending. In the arcane logic of taxonomic nomenclature, the Latin binomials Panax quinquefolius and P. trifolius are perfectly acceptable, even though the specific epithets, meaning "five-leafed" and "three-leafed," respectively, are descriptively inaccurate and, as such, not a sensible basis for distinguishing species. Mature leaves of almost all Panax species (as well those of eleuthero) are compound and composed of five leaflets, the three terminal ones being invariably larger than the other two. Duke has published an illustration depicting the leaf of P. notoginseng bearing seven leaflets.6

7. Wen J, Zimmer EA. Phylogeny and biogeography of Panax L. (the ginseng genus, Araliaceae): Inferences from ITS sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 1996;6(2):167-77.

9. Wen J. Species diversity, nomenclature, phylogeny, biogeography, and classification of the ginseng genus (Panax L., Araliaceae). In: Pjnja ZK, editor. Utilization of biotechnological, genetic and cultural approaches for North American and Asian ginseng improvement. Proceedings of the International Ginseng Workshop. Vancouver, Canada: Simon Fraser University Press; 2001. p. 67-88.

Some American icons also cashed in on ginseng. John Jacob Astor became the first U.S. multimillionaire because of real-estate interests and a fur business, which began exporting to China in the early 1800s. But he also used his contacts in Asia to trade ginseng, reportedly earning $55,000 on his first shipload. Daniel Boone, the eponymous frontiersman of the North Carolina mountain town, supplemented his own fur business by digging ginseng out of the Appalachian wilderness.

The foraging culture began to change after the United States joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1974. Along with lions, mahogany, and alligators, wild ginseng falls under Appendix II of the treaty, which includes species on the verge of becoming endangered. For the first time, states that wanted to export wild roots were required to issue broad regulations on hunting. They designated specific digging and trading seasons; some mandated permits to forage on public lands. Dealers were instructed to register their businesses and certify that roots were harvested legally. The federal government had to clear inspected ginseng before export. (In the late 1990s, rules were tightened to stipulate how old harvested plants had to be; five years became the minimum.) 041b061a72


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