Ginseng is an important medicinal plant.
A few of the medicinal plants are ginseng, pleurisy root, snake root, blood root, blue flag and marshmallow.
Thus the doctrine of signatures is evident in the use of the celebrated Ginseng root of China, which, like that of the mandrake (Gen.
Blue flag, snake root, ginseng, lobelia, tansy, wormwood, wintergreen, pleurisy root, plantain, burdock, sarsaparilla and horehound are among its medicinal plants.
GINSENG, the root of a species of Panax (P. Ginseng), native of Manchuria and Korea, belonging to the natural order Araliaceae, used in China as a medicine.
Other roots are substituted for it, notably that of Panax quinquefolium, distinguished as American ginseng, and imported from the United States.
At one time the ginseng obtained from Manchuria was considered to be the finest quality, and in consequence became so scarce that an imperial edict was issued prohibiting its collection.
The root of the wild plant is preferred to that of cultivated ginseng, and the older the plant the better is the quality of the root considered to be.
The account given by Koempfer of the preparation of nindsin, the root of Sium ninsi, in Korea, will give a good idea of the preparation of ginseng, ninsi being a similar drug of supposed weaker virtue, obtained from a different plant, and often confounded with ginseng.
Ginseng of good quality generally occurs in hard, rather brittle, translucent pieces, about the size of the little finger, and varying in length from 2 to 4 in.
Lockhart gives a graphic description of a visit to a ginseng merchant.
The smaller box, which held the ginseng, was lined with sheet-lead; the ginseng further enclosed in silk wrappers was kept in little silkencovered boxes.
In China the ginseng is often sent to friends as a valuable present; in such cases, "accompanying the medicine is usually given a small, beautifully-finished double kettle, in which the ginseng is prepared as follows.
The silver kettle, which fits on a ring near the top of the outer covering, has a cup-like cover in which rice is placed with a little water; the ginseng is put in the inner vessel with water, a cover is placed over the whole, and the apparatus is put on the fire.
When the rice in the cover is sufficiently cooked, the medicine is ready, and is then eaten by the patient, who drinks the ginseng tea at the same time."
The indigenous economic plants are few, and are of no commercial value, excepting wild ginseng,bamboo, which is applied to countless uses, and "tak-pul" (Hibiscus Manihot), used in the manufacture of paper.
It possesses the stately remains of the palace of the Korean kings of the Wang dynasty, is a great centre of the grain trade and the sole centre of the ginseng manufacture, makes wooden shoes, coarse pottery and fine matting, and manufactures with sesamum oil the stout oiled paper for which Korea is famous.
The articles chiefly cultivated are rice, millet, beans, ginseng (at Songdo), cotton, hemp, oil-seeds, bearded wheat, oats, barley, sorghum, and sweet and Irish potatoes.
Paper and ginseng are the only manufactured articles on the list of Korean exports.
Japanese cotton yarns are imported to be woven into a strong cloth on Korean hand-looms. Beans and peas, rice, cowhides, and ginseng are the chief exports, apart from gold.
The blackberry, black raspberry, huckleberry, blueberry, wild ginger and ginseng are widely distributed.