Ginseng is considered one of the world's most valuable plants. Its benefits to human health have been known to
Asian and North American Aboriginals peoples for thousands of years.
In China, the plant is called the "King of All Herbs" and viagra cialis alternative and is described as the best medicine in Shen Nung's
Pharmacopoeia. There are several ginseng species - the two main types being Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer)
and North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.). Asian ginseng is native to northern China and
North American ginseng was
discovered in 1716 by Father Joseph-Francois Lafitau, near today's Montreal in Canada, where he was working as a
missionary among Iroquois Indians. He had been inspired by earlier findings of another
French Jesuit priest, Father Piere Jartoux, who observed the unique health benefits and use of ginseng by the
Chinese. With the help of the local Aboriginal, Father Lafitau's discovery led to
a boom in the export of North American ginseng to China. Due to its high export value, North American ginseng
is often referred to as 'Green Gold'.
Ginseng cultivation in North America began in the mid to late 1800's as wild ginseng approached
extinction following the rapid growth of the export trade. Today, the vast majority of commercial ginseng is
cultivated rather than harvested from the wild.