The Chinese name for this sweet licorice-flavored root is "human-shaped root" and indeed some have extraordinarily human shapes. This rather amazing plant has been credited for centuries with being everything from an aphrodisiac to a restorative. Recent scientific discoveries have linked ginseng to the treatment of high blood pressure. It's referred to as white ginseng when simply sun-dried. When steamed and dried over a fire or with other heat, it takes on a reddish tinge and is called red ginseng. Ginseng is used in soups, for tea and as a medicinal. It's available in Asian markets and natural food stores.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.