Ginseng Information and Farm Background
Ginseng was once plentiful in the wild. In the 1700's a Jesuit Missionary, Père Lafiteau discovered some plants near Quebec City; the rush was on. So great was the demand in China for Canadian Ginseng that the precious roots soon became a major export article, second only to fur. Daniel Boone made more money from Ginseng than any other commodity. Today, wild stocks long depleted from unscrupulous over-harvesting and on the brink of extinction, Ginseng is cultivated mostly on farms under artificial shade simulating forest conditions.
Northern Lights Ginseng is grown in the Ottawa Valley on our family farm near Quyon in the Pontiac, West Quebec. Coming here in 1980 from Europe, we were intrigued to discover Ginseng being grown in Canada. We planted our first Ginseng beds in 1982. Awestruck by our first experience of the Aurora Borealis, we named our enterprise "Northern Lights Ginseng Farm". In our Northern location, soil and climate differing from other growing areas in Canada and the US, we have been growing roots of high quality since 1982, recognized as somewhat of a specialty by Chinese buyers in Canada and abroad. We are now for the first time offering to the domestic health-conscious consumer a select portion of our crop in the form of our own Northernlights Ginseng product line of whole roots, ground whole roots and capsules for your convenience. There are many Ginseng products on the market. Be aware that much of it is derived from the lowest grade root, and may be totally devoid of active constituents. Health Canada scientists have found 1/3 of Ginseng products contain no detectable Ginseng at all. Our products contain nothing but the highest quality 100% ground whole 4 year Canadian Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) root.
For thousands of years the indigenous peoples of the wild mountainous areas of North America, China and Russia, where the different Ginseng grow, have revered the highly prized roots as cure-alls and Fountains of Youth. In Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM), Ginseng is often called the King of Herbs and is used in hundreds of curative formulas. Regular use of Ginseng to slow aging and prevent illness is deeply in engrained in Chinese culture. Ginseng being one of the most studied of herbal remedies, today science validates ancient wisdom.
Distinctions are made between several different varieties of Ginseng. Canadian/American Ginseng is the most balanced of all the Ginsengs. Somewhat more cooling, less strongly stimulating than some of its Asian cousins, it is in great demand in China for its own unique fortifying, calming and hormone balancing qualities. It can be safely be used by younger, healthy, "hotter" individuals, even children. Because of its ability to cool and help to decongest, Ginseng is used in CTM for bronchitis, flu and pneumonia. By contrast, Red Korean should never be used when you have a fever or other inflammation, are feeling jitters or suffer from insomnia. In our own experience, our Ginseng's adaptogenic and stamina enhancing qualities have reliably helped us to keep going during otherwise exhausting long days of strenuous farm work in oppressive summer heat, as well as all other peak work times, the stress of changing seasons and trying winter months. All varieties of true Ginseng are energizing, rejuvenating, especially to the hormonal system, immuno-protective and adaptogenic. Adaptogenic means it helps the organism to adapt to and protect against the damage from stress of all sorts, be it physical, mental, emotional, environmental pollution, even radiation. Ginseng nourishes and balances the adrenal cortex, pituitary, thyroid and the hypothalamus. Canadian Ginseng has been found to improve nervous function, ease depression and anxiety, reduce fatigue and promote relaxation and deeper, more restful sleep. Many people like to take Ginseng to improve memory, concentration and mental clarity. Its effect on Alzheimer's disease is presently being studied.
Canadian Ginseng's scientifically demonstrated cardiotonic properties help to regulate blood pressure (both high and low) and reduce cholesterol (increase HDL, the "good fats" and lower LDL, the "bad fats"). Canadian Ginseng contains relatively more of the relaxing, blood pressure lowering Rb1, while red Korean has relatively more of the stimulating Rg1 (Fulder, 1993). Ginseng has also been found to stabilize blood sugar swings, improve digestion and enhance libido for both men and women. Many women discover a valuable ally in Canadian Ginseng during the menopausal years to reduce hot flashes, menopausal headaches, insomnia, irritability and other discomforts. With many hormone-like saponins, phytosterols and other hormone building blocks, such as essential fatty acids, glycosides and minerals, Ginseng is well equipped to balance, tone and support the hormone system during this time of change. Overall, Canadian Ginseng seems to be ideally suited for the over-stressed, over-stimulated adrenal weak North-American on the road to burnout.
Directions for use: For best results, use Ginseng when under acute stress as needed (1-15g/day) or for best cumulative results on a cycle of 3 months, 2 weeks off. Canadian Ginseng, even in very high doses is extremely safe and may be used in this manner indefinitely. According to Susan Weed, you will neutralize much of Ginseng's effect if you use it within 3hrs of taking Vitamin C. You can double it's effect by taking Ginseng with 100-200 IU of natural vitamin E or a spoonful of wheat germ oil or fresh cold-pressed flax seed oil. To prepare instant tea, steep ¼ - ½ tsp. of ground root in 1 cup boiling water. You might like to add a bit of ginger and honey. When brewing tea from ground roots or decocting whole roots use non-metal pots such as glass cookware (stainless steel may be acceptable). Drink the resulting liquid and eat the ground or whole roots. You may simply break off a piece of dried root and chew. The Chinese like to cook Ginseng in chicken soup and some other dishes. It's an acquired taste. Experiment with small amount of root, since our northern location produces a powerful Ginseng with strong flavors.
Bibliography: Christopher Hobbs, 1996 The Ginsengs ..A Users Guide; Stephen Fulder 1993 The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality; Susan S. Weed, Menopausal Years, The Wise Woman Way.
All material in this publication is informative only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. For medical advice consult your M.D. or health professional. The products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information and opinions provided in this publication are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best-informed judgment of the authors.