Korean ginseng, a medicinal herb, naturally exists in only three regions: “Korea”(33.7-43.1), “Manchuria”(43-47), and the Littoral province of Siberia.
The Korean peninsula is the best place to grow ginseng, because ginseng has stringent requirements for the plant’s growth, and Korea has the ideal temperature zone, plenty of rain in the summer, proper coldness in the winter, etc..
The value of Korean ginseng has been known in the world since the 4th century B.C. Books written in this era documented ginseng as emergent medicine and tonic for long-life. Ginseng was first mentioned as a tonic as early as 48-33 B.C. in Interpretation of Creatures written by You Shi of ancient China.
Moreover, Shen Nung Pen-Ts’ao-ching, the worlds oldest extant Chinese medicinal book, described the quality and production area of ginseng, medicinal effects of ginseng, and showed that high quality ginseng mainly came from the Korean kingdom of Kokuryo.
Russian botanist C.A. Meyer named it panax ginseng in 1843. The genus name, panax means cure all in Greed(pan meaning all, Axos meaning heal), therefore, true ginseng means Korean ginseng.
That traditional name of ginseng is “Shim”
The etymology and date are not known, but “Shim” was written in many medicinal books of the ‘Joseon Dynasty,’ and it is still used among pickers of wild ginseng.
Korean ginseng seems to be named after its physical resemblance of people in far-east Asia. The Chinese character gin means men, and seng represents the genus name Panax. There are six to seven species in plants in the genus Panax, but only three of them are cultivated economically and distributed as a product in the world.
Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer, the Korea ginseng species, is cultivated and distributed in Far Eastern Asia, including Korea and China. Panax quinquefolium L, an America ginseng, is cultivated in America and Canada. Panax notoginseng(Burk) F.H. Chen(Sanchi), is produced in Southern China, geographically. Korean ginseng is different from the species of American ginseng and Sanchi.
In general, the Korean ginseng is called ginseng with use of the letter ‘gin’, and only refers to Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer.
Korean ginseng species(Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer)
In Asia and the Far East region, such as Korea and China in geographical distribution.
U.S. and Canadian distribution in the area.
Jeonchilsam(Panax notoginseng F.H. Chen)