Ginseng Root

Ginseng Root

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This specimen of American Ginseng root Panax quinquefolius was donated to the Smithsonian in 1881 by the firm William Schieffelin & Company, a wholesale drug company that was founded in New York City in 1793. Ginseng was used in medicine as a tonic and stimulant, and was considered “useful in loss of appetite, slight nervous debility and weak stomach, [...] in nervous dyspepsia, and in mental exhaustion from overwork.” Beginning in the 18th century, the American root was collected in the wild and exported to China where ginseng was highly revered for its medicinal value, although the American species was considered inferior to the native Chinese ginseng Panax ginseng.
Object Name
crude drug
date made
W. H. Schieffelin and Company
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
ginseng root (overall material)
glass (container material)
overall: 6 in x 2 7/8 in x 2 3/4 in; 15.24 cm x 7.3025 cm x 6.985 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of W.H. Schieffelin and Company
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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