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Ginseng, recognized as a symbol of oriental medicine, is not only the most valuable “green doctor”, but not the most i ’gates, I’ll have the same gadgets, I’ve already a gadget. In ancient times, Chinese doctors considered ginseng root to be almost miraculous, capable of raising seriously ill patients, and returning youth and strength.
The plant received recognition relatively recently, but the need for roots was so great that the natural range of ginseng was reduced many times and wild specimens were legally protected.
What does ginseng look like?
At the mention of medicinal plants one of the first names come to mind is “ginseng”.Culture gained wide fame due to its healing properties and branched rhizome, which looks like a bizarre human figure. But how ginseng looks like, or rather, its elevated part is known to few.
Ginseng ordinary, recognized as the most valuable from the point of view of medicine, is a herbaceous perennial, with one or less often several upright stems in height from 30 to 70 centimeters. Thin, not more than 6 mm thick, the shoot in the upper part is crowned with a large split foliage consisting of five oval or ovate parts. Dense finger-like leaves of ginseng are attached to the stem with strong petioles, have fine-blade edges and a maximum length of 15 cm.
In mid-summer, ginseng blooms, forming an umbrella inflorescence, about three centimeters in diameter and consisting of 15–40 small greenish buds. The ginseng flower depicted in the photo can hardly be called bright or decorative. White or pinkish beaters with a green toothed cup and five petals are pollinated by insects. When flowering is completed, ovaries appear in place of flowers, ripening in the last days of summer or in September.
Looking at the photo, what ginseng looks like at this time, you can understand how the shape of an inconspicuous plant changes. Rooted bright red berries with juicy flesh and 2-3 seeds inside grow ripe on the stem of 10–24 cm tall.
In the cold season, the aboveground part of the plant dies, but a large rhizome remains underground. It saves the life of ginseng before the onset of heat and carries all the accumulated beneficial substances. Ginseng is a long-lived plant. The older the root, the greater its mass and the higher the healing power. At the beginning of the last century, a bicentennial root was discovered in Manchuria. Today it is hardly possible to find such a giant.
In the 19th century, due to the high demand for medicinal raw materials, merciless hunting for ginseng began in its natural habitats. It led to a sharp decrease in the number of populations and a narrowing of the growing area of .
Where ginseng grows
Ginseng refers to relic plants. An indirect confirmation of this is the unusual area of culture, torn into two parts by the Pacific Ocean. Most of the 12 species of ginseng - the indigenous inhabitants of the Far East, but not so long ago, one of the varieties was discovered in the Americas. Today, five-point ginseng is grown on vast plantations as an effective medicinal plant.
In addition to the west coast of the United States, the ginseng range covers the Korean Peninsula, Vietnam and Northeast China. Where does ginseng grow in Russia? Our country has the largest stock of this plant raw material. Medicinal ginseng in its wild form is found in the southern part of the Khabarovsk Territory, in Sikhote-Alin, as well as in Primorye. Everywhere the plant is included in the list of specially protected species. There is a mention of ginseng in the Red Book of the Jewish Autonomous Region, but living specimens have not been found here for a long time.
Wherever ginseng grows, not only the collection of roots is prohibited, but all measures are taken to preserve and increase the population.
Today it is precisely known that the plant prefers to settle in deciduous forests, under the protection of lindens and hornbeams, fir, cedar, birch and maples. Ginseng loves shade, moisture, needs nutrient loose soil. In favorable conditions, perennial can form solid clumps. But now the picture is not so joyful. For example, in Primorsky Krai ginseng grows in many areas, but an inquisitive nature researcher is unlikely to be lucky enough to see a large group of plants.
Most often wild-growing ginseng, the number of which in Russia amounts to tens of thousands, grows alone, in pristine corners on the south-western or south-eastern slopes.
How ginseng is protected
Of course, poachers and today cause serious damage to the number of medicinal plants. However, they are not the only enemies of ginseng. The population of wild plants is reduced due to cutting down of forests suitable for planting forests, fires, and thinning of the forest floor. Unfortunately, ginseng produces few seeds. Not all of them germinate, and some seedlings die in the first years, and did not form a powerful valuable rhizome.
Planting in protected areas protects Far East ginseng from extinction. In which reserve does ginseng grow? Such places are not one, but several. Today, programs to restore the number of medicinal relics are working at once in four reserves of the Russian Far East. These are the “Cedar Pad”, as well as the reserves Lazovsky, Bolshekhekhtsirsky, Ussuriysky.
Not only in the Primorsky Territory, but also in other parts of the country, for example, on Sakhalin and in Cheboksary, ginseng is grown on specially prepared plantations where conditions close to natural conditions are created. They also receive raw materials for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products in China, Korea, the USA and Australia. At high humidity, in conditions of 20–30% of light, plants are kept for 4–6 years. Then the ginseng roots, which had time to accumulate a fair amount of useful substances, are dug, cleaned and dried, sorted and crushed.
Although cultivating ginseng helps protect natural reserves, and the plants themselves are indistinguishable from wild specimens, they need several years and painstaking, time-consuming care to mature. Therefore, botanists turned to modern science. Today, more and more ginseng is obtained using in vitro cell culture.