Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of several plants of the genus Panax, especially P. ginseng of East Asia or P. quinquefolius of North America, having small greenish flowers grouped in umbels, palmately compound leaves, and forked roots used in herbal medicine.
  • noun The roots or preparations of the roots of any of these plants.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Several plants not botanically related to the ginseng have been so named as possessing similar medical properties, as, in Georgia, the sunflower-like composite Tetragonotheca helianthoides.
  • noun A plant of the genus Aralia (Panax); also, the root of this plant, which is highly valued as a tonic and stimulant by the Chinese, who ascribe to it almost miraculous powers.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A plant of the genus Aralia, the root of which is highly valued as a medicine among the Chinese. The Chinese plant (Aralia Schinseng) has become so rare that the American (A. quinquefolia) has largely taken its place, and its root is now an article of export from America to China. The root, when dry, is of a yellowish white color, with a sweetness in the taste somewhat resembling that of licorice, combined with a slight aromatic bitterness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of several plants, of the genus Panax, having forked roots supposed to have medicinal properties.
  • noun The root of such a plant, or an extract of these roots.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun Chinese herb with palmately compound leaves and small greenish flowers and forked aromatic roots believed to have medicinal powers
  • noun aromatic root of ginseng plants

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Mandarin rénshēn, from Middle Chinese rin ʂəm : rin, human being, person + ʂəm, ginseng (the plant perhaps being so called in Middle Chinese because its forked root resembles the human figure).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Mandarin trad. 人蔘, simpl. 人参 (pinyin: rénshēn).

Examples

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