Table of contents:
Video: Healing Properties Of Ginseng, Growing Ginseng According To The Technology Of The Gardener Shestakov
Ginseng - "root-man"
A perennial plant belonging to the botanical genus Panax (all-healing) - the Araliev family. Since 1978, this species has been included in the Red Book of the USSR as endangered. For many centuries, ginseng root has been known in all countries of the Far East. He is credited with all-healing properties. The plant has a stimulating, tonic and adaptogenic effect on physical and mental fatigue, disorders of the cardiovascular system, hypofunction of the gonads, neurasthenia, after suffering diseases that deplete the body.
The genus of ginseng includes six types - "brothers". In North America and Canada, the rarest three-leafed Panax and also five-leafed Panax live, in India and China - Japanese Panax. But only on the territory of Russia - in the Far East and in some places in Korea and in certain regions of China - ginseng itself grows, or Panax ginseng, the most healing and probably therefore the most famous of all the Panax brothers.
Ginseng has a succulent taproot, which usually produces one aerial stem, at the top of which is a whorl of 4-5 leaves. It is classified as a perennial herb. This means that the aboveground part of the plant withers and dies off by winter. The underground parts can persist for decades, and new stems, leaves, flowers and seeds develop every year. Such a regular change of the aerial part occurs in most perennial grasses. This is not necessary for ginseng. It differs from other perennials by its amazing ability for "hidden" life, it can "sleep" for years and not give aboveground shoots. This is his way of life.
All types of plants fight for their existence in different ways: some compensate for the loss by monstrous fertility, others are able to reproduce in various ways, and still others are armed with thorns and thorns. Ginseng prefers to wait out unfavorable conditions underground, than to enter into open life competition with other species.
Ginseng is propagated by seeds. But the originality of his seed lies in the fact that his embryo is extremely small and not so developed as to be able to germinate in the first spring after wintering. This seed requires an additional ripening period in the soil. In its development, ginseng follows the ancient reliable rule of "festina tape" - hurry slowly. Under the most favorable circumstances, the seed does not wake up earlier than two years in the soil. And some seeds start growing after 3-4 years. Nevertheless, sowing the seeds of the found ginseng plant "in the hole", i.e. in place of the dug root, has long been considered the sacred duty of the rhizome (collector of the roots of medicinal herbs).
Ginseng seeds are tiny, round, rough-shelled seeds. It is curious that the older and larger the plant, the larger the size of its seeds. They germinate after two or more wintering in spring, in mid-May, at a temperature of 10-12 degrees, and the soil moisture should not exceed 5-10%. If it is more than 25%, the seeds will not germinate.
In the first year of its life, the stem of ginseng is not formed, it is replaced by a petiole, on which a small three-part leaf blooms, the size of a matchstick. It would never even occur to many that this wretched plant will turn into a precious root of life in 20 years. If everything goes well, then after the third wintering, a straight thin stalk will timidly stretch out from under the ground. It grows extremely slowly: over the summer it reaches only the size of cabbage seedlings. On the shoot, depending on the conditions, one or two five-fingered leaves develops, which should be the case for real ginseng. The middle leaf is longer, the next two lateral ones are slightly shorter and the two outer ones are the shortest. The third leaf usually appears at 13-15 years of plant life. Ginseng with six and seven leaves is a rare phenomenon.
But the age of a plant is difficult to judge only by the number of leaves. Here it is necessary to take into account both the height of the plant and the number and size of the fruits. The full ripening of the plant, which is expressed in the formation of flowers and fruits, usually occurs not earlier than 8-10 vegetation. But it is necessary to make corrections for the years of "dormancy" of the plant, when it does not appear on the surface at all. Thus, sometimes maturation is delayed up to 20 years. So, under favorable circumstances, a straight thin peduncle protrudes from the center of the whorl for 8-10 vegetation, which is 1.5-2 times shorter than the stem. The total plant height reaches 40-60 cm. A rather compact umbellate inflorescence with 10-15 flowers is formed at the top of the peduncle.
Ginseng blooms from the second half of June, at the level of the biological species, flowering lasts 20-30 days, and in a single specimen - one to two weeks. The older the plant, the more flowers are formed, and therefore the more fruits. Ginseng flowers of yellowish-green color do not delight the eye with their beauty and are not impressive in size, but they exude a faint honey smell.
After the first flowering, only 2-3 fruits are formed, in the second year - 6-10 fruits, each of which contains 1-2 seed-seeds. In especially favorable conditions, one plant can give up to 70-80 fruits, hence up to 160 seeds. Full ripening of the fruits occurs in August - early September. The search for and harvesting of ginseng is usually timed to this time.
The plant with blood-red berry-like fruits is easier to spot in shady places, and the root itself is gaining full strength. The bright red fruits attract birds, which eagerly eat them. This is one of the methods of reproduction of ginseng: this is how the seeds spread away from their place of birth.
Another way is self-seeding. Its spatial efficiency is low, as the fruits fall in a heap to the ground near the parent plant. If these fruits are not eaten by mice or chipmunks, then in a few years group shoots of ginseng may appear in this place.
If the structure of the aboveground part of ginseng is to a certain extent of the same type, then the underground part is very diverse. Translated from Chinese, ginseng means "root man". The name was given for some resemblance of the root to a human figure. In a fully formed eight-year-old plant, a neck stands out in the underground part - a thin part of a cylindrical rhizome, densely covered with scars from fallen stems, expanded from above and forming a head. A fusiform main root departs from the neck, the body is the most massive part (up to 20 cm long), in the lower part it branches into two processes that form "legs". From the body can branch off, which are called the main - "hands", and those that move away from the rhizome - the neck - additional.
Among all parts of the root, the "body" is especially valued, therefore its size and weight are the basis of the commodity classification. The more the ginseng root resembles a human figure, the more valuable it is. The root color is yellowish-white. The smell is specific, the taste is sweet, pungent, bitter when chewed.
After the aerial parts die off in autumn, the body of the root shrinks somewhat, it is drawn into the ground, and therefore an annular wrinkle forms on it. By the "ringing" one can judge the number of active years of ginseng. During the rest years, wrinkles are not formed. In principle, the pattern “the larger and heavier the root, the older it is” remains true. The average weight of 20-25 year old roots usually does not exceed 30 grams. But in 1953, IV Grushevitsky studied and sketched a root weighing 390 grams, the age of which he determined at 400 years.
Ginseng root extraction has long been considered profitable, but not easy. Success here was ensured by knowledge, experience, perseverance and, to a large extent, luck. The root was valued incredibly expensively. According to the information that has come down to us, in some years ten weights of gold were paid for each weight of the root. In the reference book "World resources of useful plants" published by the Leningrad branch of the publishing house "Science" in 1969, it is reported that ginseng "until the 19th century was valued 18 times more expensive than gold." V. K. Arseniev wrote in 1925 that one weight of ginseng was worth 250 weights of silver.
Where could this miracle root be found? Of course, the ginseng plant needs sunlight, but only diffused light. He is shade-tolerant, but not shade-loving. Another important requirement of ginseng is a humus-rich soil that is good at passing moisture, and there is no waterlogging. At the same time, for the development of its aboveground part, high air humidity is needed within 80-90%.
The natural germination of wild ginseng seeds is very low - only 5-10 percent. But thanks to the use of a special technology for preparing seeds for sowing, developed by an enthusiastic gardener Andrei Karpovich Shestakov, it is possible to increase seed germination … Shestakov mixed the collected fruits with clean sand, slightly moistening them, and kept them for a week at "street" temperature. Then he washed the fruits with water, and the seeds freed from the pulp were placed on a tray, dried and poured into a special box filled with well-calcined sand, and gently mixed. The box was tightly closed from mice, put in a hole up to half a meter deep and threw earth, which he tamped well. The seeds were in this state for 14 months - from August this year to October next. During this time, they matured, or, in modern terms, underwent stratification.
Every month, with the exception of winter, the boxes were dug, each seed looked through. Sick and damaged seeds were removed, the rest were mixed with sand again, if necessary, moistened and buried. As a result, only 2% of the seeds emerged from the control box, which was never dug or examined, while the rest dried up or died. From the seeds of the experimental boxes, which were dug and moistened, an average of 70-72% rose. Thus, a way was found to significantly increase germination, and this was already the first step to taming the forest unsociable.
Soil for sowingShestakov also cooked very carefully. In early August, the site was dug on a shovel bayonet, broken clods of earth, and weeds were removed. In the middle of September, fertilizer was introduced, the basis of which was peat compost. It was prepared in advance and kept in a special pit for a whole year. The ridges were prepared with a width of one meter, a height of 30 cm, treated with a formalin solution and made rows, between which a palm-wide distance was left. A week before sowing, in early October, a box of seeds was opened. They were washed from the sand with water and sprayed with a weak solution of potassium permanganate. Then the seeds were aired, always in the shade. They were sown one at a time in holes 3-4 cm deep at a distance of a matchbox from each other, lightly tamped and watered the earth. Then the bed was sprinkled with straw, dust, or dry leaves. Shoots began to appear in May. They were covered with polyethylene from early spring frosts. And in summer, the main work is weeding and shading the plants from direct sunlight.
To prevent diseases, young plants were sprayed with a solution of potassium permanganate. Especially carefully it was necessary to monitor the cleanliness of the beds, the moderation of moisture and lighting. If everything was in order, then by July a three-part leaf of the plant appeared - underyearlings. There is no stem at all, it was replaced by a small stem.
Shestakov transplanted the two-year-old roots into a specially prepared bed for permanent residence, where the plant will get a feeding area of 30 by 30 cm. Beforehand, each root was looked through, the patients were discarded. The bed with transplanted roots was lightly watered, mulched and covered with spruce branches for the winter. Spring seedlings are uncooperative. In mid-May, one, less often two, five-fingered leaves appear. Then the peduncle stretches upward.
Three-year-old ginseng in culture gives 20-30 fruits, in which 25-40 seeds. This is much more than the fertility of the savage plants.
In the second half of October, the aerial parts of the plant completely die off. When ginseng is cultivated in the open field, the return is tens of times greater than in nature.
Six-seven-year-old roots, grown by Shestakov, weighed up to 90 g. Ginseng did not always reach this weight in nature at the age of 40-50 or even 100 years.
Recently, thanks to improved techniques, it is possible to grow ginseng 200-300 times faster than it grows in nature. Getting 200 years old ginseng in one year has become a reality! Since the late 19th century, ginseng has been cultivated in Korea, and later in Northeast China and Japan. Since the 30s, it has been cultivated and protected in the reserves "Ussuriysky named after VL Komarov" and "Kedrovaya Pad". It is cultivated in the GBS RAS and at the Siberian ZOS VILR.
Nowadays they have learned to grow ginseng from tissue culture - "in vitro". Man gained power over ginseng and gave it a second life.