Ginseng has a long history of use throughout China. It was said to have been discovered in Northern China, with the more specifically named Panax Ginseng referring to the herb found in that particular region of the world. A highly revered plant, ginseng grew wild and was believed to have been initially used as a food source.
Ginseng is called ren shen in Chinese, which translates to "man root", describing how ginseng root branches resemble a man's body and legs. As a note, the more closely a ginseng root resembles the human form, the more highly prized it is.
There is another very popular panax species of ginseng used in the world today. It is xi yang shen, or American ginseng (latin: Panax Quinquefolius) and can be found growing in cooler parts of North America. One other plant commonly associated with ginseng, but not true panax ginseng, is: Siberian ginseng (latin: Eleutherococcus senticosus).
There are many medical studies on ginseng today and they are known as adaptogens, or plants that promote stabilization of physiological processes by improving the body's ability to adapt to and manage environmental stresses. Some of the other benefits of ginseng as tested in a clinical setting:
increased mental performance, increased calmness, and decreased mental fatigue