Beloved in Asia for its traditional medicinal properties, ginseng is an unassuming brownish-yellow root that kind of looks like a carrot crossed with a parsnip or horseradish. Oftentimes, the main root has off-shooting smaller ones that are endearingly said to look human-like with arms and legs; these are most prized ginseng roots. In China, ginseng has been used as a tonic for at least around 2,000 years.
Different types of ginseng are grown throughout Asia — although they tend to favor cooler climates in northern China, Korea, and the Russian Far East — while American ginseng is native to eastern North America. Wild ginseng is also so popular that it’s endangered; this type grows in the mountainous areas in these climates. After harvesting, ginseng can be processed into multiple consumer varieties like red and white.
From there, ginseng is often consumed in teas, as a complementary flavoring agent in cooking, or as an herbal supplement. At Uwajimaya, you can find a selection of ginseng-infused teas, herbal supplements and candy.