Pronounced ‘‘jin-seng,’’ a plant of the genus Panax, family
Aralia, indigenous to China, Korea, and North America. The
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Ginseng
Chinese and Korean species, Panax ginseng, is said to have curative
properties, including the ability to prolong life.
The roots sometimes resemble the human form, rather like
the mandragoras or mandrake, and a legend similar to that of
the mandrake says that ginseng also screams when uprooted.
Chinese tradition claims that ginseng absorbs a special earth vitality
that is communicated to those who consume the plant
(usually in the form of an infusion); hence in former times its
use was restricted to emperors.
Although the plant’s medicinal value is still disputed in Europe
and the United States, it is now cultivated widely for sale
in health food stores.
The American general William Westmoreland reportedly
took ginseng tea at breakfast during the Vietnam War, and Russians
gave it to cosmonauts to combat infectious disease.
Harriman, Sarah. The Book of Ginseng. New York Pyramid
Books, 1975.
Melton, J. Gordon, Jerome Clark, and Aidan Kelly. New Age
Encyclopedia. Detroit Gale Research, 1990.