Panax quinquefolius, “American ginseng” in English and “Ginseng américain” or “Ginseng à cinq folioles” in French, belongs to the Araliaceae botanical family.
Native to eastern North America, it is a 0.3 m tall herb growing at a slow rate in rich grounds in cool forests. Due to its high demand, it has an endangered status in some areas.
Wild American ginseng was apparently used by Indian tribes to increase mental powers, woman fertility, and to treat headache, cramps, fevers, rheumatism, and cough.
The drug made with the root has been considered to be an adaptogen, aphrodisiac, anti-depressant, effective in memory stimulation, having potential to prevent and treat heart and circulatory system diseases.
Approximately 200 substances have been isolated from American ginseng including ginsenosides (pseudoginsenoside F11 is specific to P.quinquefolius), polyacetylenes, alkaloids, polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, oligopeptides, phenolic compounds, lipids, vitamins, and minerals.