Despite being an Asian country, and despite our proximity to China and Korea where ginseng has been growing forever, ginseng, as it is used in herbal medicine, did not become popular in the Philippines until the 1990s. Despite the lateness of its appearance in the market, however, the moment it did hit the market, it became an instant success. Part of it was because of the claim that it was a natural cure for impotence. Later on, marketing techniques widened the supposed health benefits of ginseng and it became a cure-all for just about any health problem — from skin wrinkles to all other symptoms that go with aging.
There is fresh, white and red ginseng, and I thought they all referred to the same plant and the classification was merely to distinguish between that which was newly harvested (fresh), dried (white) and ginseng harvested after six years and dried unpeeled (red). But, apparently, ginseng can either be Panax ginseng or Panax quinquefolius (or American ginseng) although the latter is not true ginseng.
I am intrigued by herbal medicine, and I am quite a fan, but I have never tried ginseng in its pure form so I can’t really claim that it does everything that it reputedly does.
The photo was taken at the table of Hanbi, a Korean restaurant, at the Pangasius Food Festival.