Saturday, 25 February 2012

Korean Ginseng

Ginseng is a root plant and one of both North and South Korea's proudest crops. Ginseng is used as a herbal medicine to boost immune systems and energy levels and is seen as a product to calm the mind and body. It is believed to clear the blood of toxins, aid digestion, combat cancer cells and help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Interestingly it can be sold as candy but common forms include powder, tea or health supplements such as tonic drinks or capsules. The root grows in a long shape and it is thought a root resembling a human form is the best and most valuable. In October, Korea hosts the Youngju Punggi Ginseng Festival and visitors can dig for the herb themselves.

We each received a generously big box of this stuff for both major Korean holidays from our school director this year, but I only recently plucked up the courage to try it. On both Thanks Giving and Lunar New Year we were faced with occassions of gift giving. Ginseng is considered an expensive and thoughtful present.


Ginseng

The drink itself tastes like wood bark and is a very strong flavour. I dilute mine with a little water and try to drink it in one shot! It is not the most delicious taste, but it certainly feels healthy and wholesome. It was also recommened as a potent hangover cure by my boss and it does seems to do the trick!
Shot of Ginseng

It is a huge business amoung tourists and is world reknown for its stamina building properties as a tonic elixir. It can be bought in every city and in some cities there are herbal markets dedicated to selling the stuff. In Daegu there is a famous Oriental medicine street and walking down here, you can see huge vats filled with spindley roots. It is like walking into Professor Snape's Potions classroom! If given the chance, I really think it is within your interests to sample a glass. But as far as candy goes, I would stick to toffee!

Ginseng health drink

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