Growth of Korean Ginseng

The form of ginseng

Korean ginseng has a root system which includes the rhizome head, main root, and lateral root from which numerous fine root and root hairs develop. The shape of KOREA INSAM undergoes a process of transformation as the roots develop. In the first year of sowing, ginseng roots undergo about 17months of the elongation process(4 to 6 months) and flesh-up process(7-9 months) to become seedlings bearing heavy hair. The hair is trimmed off upon transplant in the second year of sowing. New lateral roots is set in the third year of sowing. In the fourth and fifth years, main roots flesh up and the lateral and fine roots grow fully to form the unique shape of ginseng roots.

Six-year-old ginseng, which is used for manufacturing red ginseng, has a 7~10cm long main root (diameter: 2~3cm) with several lateral roots and a large rhizome head. Its total length is about 34cm and weight is 40~120g(in some cases, up to 300g)

When roots are grown for more than 7 years, their growth is retarded and they become ill-shaped with woody skin. This extended growth results in a higher rate of cavity, or white insides, occurs after processing.


For the best quality of ginseng, special care must be devoted to cultivation, from planting to harvesting. The cultivation of ginseng is quite different from other crops. Once ginseng has been cultivated, it can not be re-cultivated in the same field within at least 15years. The field must be carefully selected because the yield depends on the soil nature and the lay of the land. In order to prepare the growing conditions of wild ginseng as closely as possible, the proper soil is located and fertilized with compost for on or two years.

Selecting the best seeds from a superior crop of ginseng and then transplanting the best seedlings is the requisite for premier vintages. Seedlings are also grown in specially prepared nursery bed soil.

Korean ginseng must be grown under shade without application of chemical fertilizers. In short, ginseng cultivation is a structural process that maintains traditional organic farming practices. Ginseng is grown in rows that are set by a compass to face north-east. Overhead shade is installed to protect the plants from direct sunlight. It is of key importance that they grow as large as possible, while maintaining with balance in rhizome head, main root, and lateral roots.

Ginseng components
Organic compound Ginseng saponin(3~6%) · Protopanaxadiol group 22kinds
· protopanaxatriol group 11kinds
· oleanane group 1kinds
Nitrogen compound(12~16%) · Protein · Amino acid · Peptide · nucleic acid · alkaloid
fat-solubility component(1~2%) · lipid · Fatty acid · Refined oil · Steroid · Organic acid
· Phenol compound · poly acetylene · Triterpenoid
Vitamin(0.05%) · Water-soluble Vitamin
carbohydrate(60~70%) · Polysaccharide · Trisaccharide · Disaccharide · Monosaccharide · Crude fiber· Pectin
Inorganic compound Ashes(4~6%)
Ginseng’s main Saponins and the content order of specific Saponin.
Item Main Saponins Specific Saponins
Fresh ginseng Ginsenoside Ra, Rb₁,Rb₂,Rc, Rd, Re, Rg₁ Ginsenoside Rb₁>GinsenosideRg₁>GinsenosideRe
White ginseng Ginsenoside Ra, Rb₁,Rb₂,Rc, Rd, Re, Rg₁ Ginsenoside Rb₁>GinsenosideRg₁>GinsenosideRe
Red ginseng Ginsenoside Rg₃,Rb₁, Re, Rg₁, Rd, Rh₁,Rh₂ Ginsenoside Rg₃>GinsenosideRg₁>GinsenosideRh₂
Sun ginseng Ginsenoside Rg, Rg₃,Rg₁, Rk₁,Rh₂ Ginsenoside Rg₃>GinsenosideRg >GinsenosideRh₂
Black ginseng Ginsenoside RgF2,Rg₃,Rg₁, Rk₁,Rh₂ Ginsenoside Rg₃>GinsenosideRg >GinsenosideRh₂
Ferment ginseng Ginsenoside Rd, F₂,Rg₁,Rh₁, Rb₂, Compound K Compound K >GinsenosideRg₁>GinsenosideRh₁>GinsenosideRb₂
Ferment red ginseng Ginsenoside Rb₁,Rb₂,Rg₁,Rg₃,Rd, Rh₂,Rg, Rh₁, Rh₃, Compound K GinsenosideRh₂>GinsenosideRh₁>GinsenosideRh₃>Compound K >GinsenosideRb₁>GinsenosideRb₂
Ginseng effects
Biological effects Ginseng Saponins
Agglutination deterrence of platelets Ra, Rg₁,Rg₂
Cellulose decomposition Ra ,Rb₁,Rb₃,Rc ,Re ,Rg₁,Rg₂
Activation(Phagocyte) of the phagocyte Ra, Rb₁,Rb₂,Rc ,Rg₃,Rh₂,Re ,Rg₂,Rh₁
Extension of blood vessel Rb₁,Rd ,Rg₁
Decrease of cholesterol and lipid, Increase of HDL Rb₁,Rb₂,Rc
Secretion acceleration of ACTH and Corticosterone Rb₁,Rb₂,Rc ,Re
Synthesis acceleration of RNA and Protein Rb₁,Rc ,Rg₁,Rh₁,Rh₂,Rg₃,Compound K
Anti-cancer Rh₁,Rh₂,Rg₃,Compound K
Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease PPD, PPT
Treatment of inflammatory Compound Y, Mc
Treatment of disordered renal Rc ,Re