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Ginseng EO.

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On the silliness of ginseng essential oil.

I was at the garden fair in Helsinki a few weeks ago and saw that one seller of essential oils carried the essential oil of ginseng.

Snigger.

Ginseng is one of the most expensive herbs there are. We're talking about $ 90 per lb dried root of commercially grown Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) - about € 160 per kg.
Or, just for comparison, about $160 per lb dried root of organically grown American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) - about € 300 per kg.

Now, to make essential oils, you put a few hundred kg of herb into a great big steel vessel, add water, and boil things up. Catch all fumes as they rise, pour them through a bit of ice, and let drip into a catchbasin. The oil slick on top of the water is your essential oil. (Or use solvents to extract the oil, and proceed to boil off your solvent after extraction.).
A few hundred kg of herb would give you a liter or three of the EO.

Enter entrepreneurs, who've been told that ginseng is good for everything and then some. So of course you'll need to add it to your product line, if you're doing essential oils. A quick google search turned up a few ginseng EO sellers -- and one of them had prices. Exim Wawasan Trading in Malaysia sells the essential oil of ginseng (with pictures of Asian ginseng, at that) at $ 33 per 0,5 l.

You wouldn't get 0,5 kg ginseng root at that price, let alone the couple hundred kg needed for the essential oil ... you'd get half a kg dried leaf (here's American ginseng in the online catalog of Blessed Herbs), but you wouldn't get enough leaf for $33 to extract half a liter of EO either, nevermind the cost of labor and all that jazz.

No, if this oil is made from ginseng it's likely made from leftovers of ginseng plant extract production - those ginseng extracts are abundantly available in China and surrounds.

Be that as it may, the essential oil is a single constituent.

And the rub is, the single constituent is not the herb.

If the essential oil of ginseng is of importance at all in the activity of ginseng, it's minor.

Which means that whatever this essential oil does, it won't do what ginseng, the herb, does.

I haven't seen it before, but then, things reach Finland a few years after they're passé elsewhere. It might be a perfectly normal essential oil, as used in aromatherapy, but I don't think so, as there's only a few dozen search results. I think this is a matter of "buyer beware".



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