One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: any of various plants reputed to have universal healing powers, especially Opopanax chironium. Later (in form Panax): a genus of perennial herbs of the family Araliaceaenative to eastern Asia and North America, including ginseng, P. ginseng, and American ginseng, P. quinquefolius, whose roots are used medicinally; (also panax) a plant of this genus.
Middle English; earliest use found in Peri Didaxeon. From classical Latin panax, any of various plants reputed to have universal healing powers from Hellenistic Greek πάναξ, variant of ancient Greek πάνακες.
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