Oriental ginseng (Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer) to the Chinese “… is the medicine par excellence: the dernier resort when all other drugs fail; reserved for the use of the Emperor and his household, and conferred by Imperial favour upon high and useful officials whenever they have a serious breakdown that does not yield to ordinary treatment, and which threatens to put a period to their lives and usefulness” (14). Although written in 1578, these claims are still held by traditional Chinese healers. Westerners do not hold ginseng in such high esteem (9). However, the discovery of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L.) growing in Canada in the early 1700s lead to the establishment of trade in ginseng between North America and the Orient, which continues today (3, 4, 8).
Received for publication 1 Oct. 1987. J.T.A.P. is indebted to the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science for an invitation to participate in a lecture/study tour of China. He is grateful to the many administrators, scientists, and ginseng growers who went to great trouble to make the visit interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding. Ruth Knight is thanked for technical assistance during preparation of this manuscript. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper therefore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.