[caption id="attachment_446" align="alignleft" width="167" caption="Ginseng, a bitter-tasting cure-all"] [/caption] Most of us have heard of ginseng. Perhaps you associate it with Eastern medicine, or maybe you have some ginseng tea bags in your cupboard. Whatever you connection with ginseng, its healing powers cannot be denied. In the article "Change of Pace," featured in last month's Walrus magazine, the author thoroughly explains that ginseng is used for the treatment of "fatigue, stress, diabetes, headaches, dizziness, colds, influenza, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, thinning hair, failing memory, tumours, diminished libido, allergies, inflammation, poor appetite, a logy immune system, various circulatory issues, and/or generalized feelings of dispiritedness." It was in the same article that I learned that Ontario is the largest producer of American ginseng, making local ginseng, ginseng capsules and powders readily available. Around 1716, a Jesuit priest began the mass production of ginseng in Canada. Hearing of the popularity and abundance of the root in China, he figured that French Canada's environment (similar to that of Northern China's) would grow the root. After three months of searching, he found the root growing close to Montreal, Quebec. After his discovery, Canada began exporting American ginseng to China, where the root was, and still is, in high demand. Ginseng is commonly used as a tea, powder, capsules or pure extracts. Many people also add whole or ginseng extract to their cooking - meat, soups, stews and desserts! Now that you've had your dose of Canadian history, and hopefully learned a thing or two about ginseng, I'll leave you to mull over its healing powers. But before you rush out and buy some ginseng root or extract to get you through those long days, be sure to talk to a naturopath, medical doctor or other professional – ginseng can interfere with other drugs or herbs, so it's best to have some guidance before taking it. For more on ginseng, read The Scoop on Ginseng. Do you use ginseng? In what form? How would you describe the taste? Does it help cure your ailments? Please share your answers!