Culture History

Does KOREAN GINSENG give mysterious power? What is RED GINSENG?

*DISCLAIMER : This article is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


Image by Nguyen Cong from Pixabay

The genus name for ginseng or insam 인삼 in Korean is “Panax ginseng,” and the word “Panax” is derived from the Greek word meaning “panacea,” As the term suggests, ginseng has long been considered to have mysterious healing properties in the West. Just like the flavor of wine differs by its “terroir,” the environmental factors such as the soil, weather, and cultivation method, and the amount of nutrition in ginseng varies by where they are grown. Compared to other ginseng grown in China, Canada, and America, Goryeo 고려 (an old kingdom of Korea, 918~1392) ginseng is the most famous for its superior nutritional and medicinal properties.

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While American ginseng contains 13 types of ginsenoside, a unique vegetable saponin which is a major antioxidant active ingredient, Goryeo ginseng contains 36 types, proving why it’s considered to be of the best quality in the world. When ginseng was exported to Japan during the Joseon Dynasty, payments were made in silver. If the price of ginseng was on the high end, payments were made in gold! These accounts show how popular Goryeo ginseng was. In China and Vietnam, the emperors were said to have used it as an aphrodisiac.

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NutraChamps Korean Red Panax Ginseng 1650mg – 120 Vegan Capsules Extra Strength Root Extract Powder Supplement w/ High Ginsenosides for Energy, Performance & Focus Pills for Men & Women

Shimmani 심마니 (“ginseng digger”) refers to a person who professionally digs sansam 산삼 (“wild ginseng”), which is believed to have more powerful medicinal effects than artificially grown ginseng. Upon finding rare wild ginseng, they could sell it for a whopping amount of money (it was like winning the lottery!).

Shimmani 심마니 (“ginseng digger”) scene from namesake TV drama from 1982. Shimbwatta심봤다! “I found ginseng!” is what the ginseng digger screams.


HONGSAM 홍삼 Korean Red Ginseng

Hongsam 홍삼 (“red ginseng”) is made by steaming and drying ginseng. The origin of this practice is said to be to meet the demands of the Chinese consumers in the past, to prevent it from going bad. As a result of the process, the color gradually changes to red, and the concentration level of ginseng properties go up. It’s believed to boost your body’s immune system, but the medicinal difference between regular ginsengs has not been clearly identified. Also, the bitter taste of ginseng goes away, making it easier to take. Hongsam has been made into many different varieties, including hongsam candy and gummies.

This is how Koreans take Hongsam Red Ginseng! A TV commercial feat. Rain 비 정지훈

Here are some of our Korean red ginseng picks from Amazon.

CheongKwanJang [EveryTime – 100% Korean Red Ginseng Extract Liquid Portable Sticks [Amazon]

Cheong Kwan Jang Korean Red Ginseng Extract Capsule Gold – 100 Capsules [Amazon]

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