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ABOUT US

Ginseng was discovered more than 5,000 years ago in the mountain provinces of Manchuria. It was first used as food and later for its strength-giving and rejuvenating properties. In Asian medicine, ginseng has been used for over 2,000 years to replenish energy, build resistance, reduce susceptibility to illness and promote health and longevity. North American Ginseng was an important medicine for the people of the First Nations and was used in a number of different ways such as a tonic to strengthen mental abilities and to increase fertility. Since the 18th century, North American Ginseng has been primarily exported to Asia where it is highly valued for its perceived superior quality and sweeter taste. North American and Asian Ginseng differ in their chemical composition and each appears to have distinct biological effects. From a traditional medicine point of view, these two types of ginsengs are thought to be complementary. For example, the Chinese perceive North American Ginseng to be more yin – meaning it is used to reduce ‘heat’ in the body. In comparison, Asian Ginseng is thought to be more yang – meaning it is used to raise ‘heat’ in the body. Heat, in the context of traditional Chinese medicine, does not have the same connotation as it does in North America. In Ontario, the ginseng industry achieved its large-scale, commercial beginning through the efforts of the Hellyer family, near Waterford, in the 1890s. Two brothers, Clarence and Albert, began to grow North American ginseng in Ontario, with seed cultivated from wild roots. Their descendants are still producing ginseng in southwestern Ontario, and the strain that the Hellyer brothers developed is still used in today’s ginseng gardens.