Five species ofPanax native of China are used in medicine. Ginseng, the best known, is prepared from the root ofP. ginseng C. A. Meyer. It is a tonic prescribed primarily for the restoration of strength in weak people.San-ch’i, a product prepared from the root ofP. pseudoginseng Wall., is a pain reliever and a hemostatic. It is prescribed for cancer, boils, swellings, bleeding, bruises, internal hemorrhages and irregular menses. Commercial products of these species are prepared from cultivated plants. Other species of Panax — P. bipinnatifidum Seem., P. japonicum C. A. Meyer, and P. major (Burk.) Ting — are used in folk medicine by people living in the mountains. This article deals with botanical descriptions and geographical and ecological notes of the species, the preparation, identification and marketing of the products, and the pharmacological aspects of the drugs. It also contains a list of 22 species of sêng-producing plants in 12 genera and seven families of Dicotyledoneae other than Araliaceae.
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