Ginseng is one of the super ingredients which has come into the limelight in recent years because of its great many uses and beneficial properties. I Coloniali products use it because of its moisturising and energising properties. Ginseng is one of the two main ingredients in the Softening body care line. Together with Bamboo, it makes the skin smoother and more elastic.
Ginseng: therapeutic properties
Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) was recognised as a super ingredient many centuries ago. It has always been used in traditional and western medical practices. Its powers can even be detected in the name of the plant itself with the Greek word “Ponar”, which means complete cure.
The English word “Ginseng” derives instead from the Chinese “rénshén”, a term which was associated with male potency in the Chinese tradition.
In addition to its uses in medicine, ginseng also has a culinary use in flavouring recipes and enriching cosmetic products. The almost magical virtues of this super ingredient are ascribed to its chemical composition. It contains more than 25 saponins, known generically as ginsenosides, which are potent anti-oxidisers.
Ginseng has a range of positive effects on the skin which definitely includes skin hydration, making the skin more elastic. It improves its luminosity and has antibacterial effects, which improve skin tone. The multiple actions of this plant which are of use to the cosmetic industry are due to the presence of low molecular weight compounds with a high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. Its extracts are also recommended in the treatment of acne and excessive sebum accumulation and for stimulating hair regeneration.
Ginseng root has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years and is currently known worldwide for its healing power in many diseases such as mental and physical stress.
These ingredients are the key components of Ginseng root’s use in the cosmetic industry, where various existing formulations are devoted to its actions as a skin conditioner, especially its emollient and astringent actions.
Ginseng: history and symbolism
Asian Ginseng originated over 5,000 years ago in the mountains of Manchuria. Originally used as food, it began to be revered by the ancient Chinese. They believed that its human shape was a powerful symbol of divine harmony on earth and that it was capable of providing strength. Hence its extensive use in medical practice.
Moreover, because of its shape, which is reminiscent of the human body, the root was also used as a magic amulet to bring luck, prosperity, longevity and fertility.
Marco Polo himself reported that this super ingredient was highly valued by the court of the Kublai Khan and that it was considered more precious than gold. In the 3rd century AD Ginseng spread throughout the world. However, the main exporters remained China and Korea.
Ginseng is a deciduous plant, with 5-fingered leaves, tiny red and white berries and a dense, yellowish-brown root of irregular shape. The spice is produced by collecting the root and drying it in the sun. The non-branched stem is 20–40 cm high and ends in a single sequence of one to five palmate leaves whose small flowers are ball-shaped. The flowers bloom from the end of June to mid-July and have five white or greenish-yellow petals which produce an ascension similar to that of the lotus flower. The fruits are formed when the plant reaches maturity (usually after three years).
Ginseng has been used for hundreds of years in China, Korea and Japan for its toning and restorative qualities which is why it has become the most widely used herbal treatment in both traditional Chinese and western medicine. The root is also effective for general physical and mental performance. Its consumption within a balanced diet improves the quality of life in general, which is shown by the improvement in vigour, well-being and mood and in psychophysical performance.