Definition of ginseng in English:



  • 1mass noun A plant tuber credited with various tonic and medicinal properties.

    • ‘American ginseng may possess effects similar to Asian ginseng.’
    • ‘They have bought a lot of ginseng and other tonics to boost his nutrition intake.’
    • ‘Read on to learn more about ginseng's amazing healing properties.’
    • ‘Two species of ginseng have shown promise in managing diabetes.’
    • ‘For this reason ginseng has been called the ‘king of tonic medicine’ in the Orient and a panacea in the West.’
  • 2The plant from which ginseng is obtained, native to eastern Asia and North America.

    Genus Panax, family Araliaceae: several species, in particular the Asian P. pseudoginseng and the North American P. quinquefolius

    • ‘Panax ginseng is the herb most people are familiar with.’
    • ‘Harvest herb roots including bloodroot, chicory, ginseng, and golden seal in the fall, after the foliage fades.’


Mid 17th century: from Chinese rénshēn, from rén ‘man’ + shēn, a kind of herb (because of the supposed resemblance of the forked root to a person).