As Demand for Ginseng Soars, Poachers Threaten Its Survival.
Ginseng is any one of the 11 species of slow-growing perennial plants with fleshy roots, belonging to the genus Panax of the family Araliaceae. It is found in North America and in eastern Asia (mostly northeast China, Korea, Bhutan, eastern Siberia), typically in cooler climates. Over centuries, ginseng has been considered in China as an important component of Chinese traditional medicine. Besides Panax ginseng, many other plants are also known as or mistaken for the ginseng root. The most commonly known examples are xiyangshen, also known as American ginseng (P. quinquefolius), Japanese ginseng (P. japonicus), crown prince ginseng (Pseudostellaria heterophylla), and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Although all have the name “ginseng”, each plant has distinctively different functions. However, true ginseng plants belong only to the Panax genus.
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