What Makes Ontario Ginseng Unique from Korean Red Ginseng?

That is a great question! For a lot of people, ginseng is simply — well, ginseng, but what if I told you each variety is unique and holds different healing properties? The term “ginseng” gets thrown around as a catch-all term for a wide range of different herbs, and sometimes it can be really hard to determine which type of ginseng someone is referring to.

We are here to clear things up, so you can learn the difference between the two most common forms of ginseng and how Panax quinquefolius can benefit your health and wellbeing.

The Two Most Popular Types of Ginseng

Korean Red Ginseng

You might have heard the term Korean, Asian, Chinese, or even Red Ginseng referring to the herb that hails from East Asia. In general, all these terms refer to Panax ginseng. Panax ginseng tends to have a more developed lateral tap root and off-shoots.

North American Ginseng

Panax quinquefolius — better known as North American Ginseng, is another popular variety that has been grown and used by native tribes in North America for centuries for its relaxing properties, and this is the kind the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association specializes in. It tends to be lighter in colour and has a shorter, more bulbous main taproot and less off-shoot root growth in comparison to the Asian variety.

Their Individual Health Benefits

Herbs such as Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius contain the same active ingredients known as ginsenosides. Nevertheless, they are unique because they contain different types of ginsenosides, which appear in different proportions in each plant. The proportions and types of these substances determine what therapeutic effect they have on the body.

In research, it has been shown to increase physical and mental performance during stressful situations as well as help regulate blood sugar levels. Korean ginseng is also considered warming in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for its ability to stimulate the body, generate heat, and promote Yang energy.

Alternatively, Panax quinquefolius is sometimes thought to be the more soothing (due to its lower level of ginsenosides) and is used in TCM to correct deficiencies of Yin and Qi. When stressed or anxious, it can improve immune function, relieve nervousness, and aid digestion. Like Panax ginseng, it can also regulate blood sugar.

Where To Buy North American Ginseng

Looking to restore your natural balance with the power of ginseng? When buying North American ginseng it’s advised to purchase from a a qualified ginseng retailer or certified seller who displays our “Running Root” seal on their products. This guarantees the product you are buying contains only 100% Canadian Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) that is sourced from native Ontario soils. Click here to view our list of licensed partners.


At the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association (OGGA), we’re passionate about educating consumers about high-quality, North American ginseng. Visit our website to learn more about this amazing plant—including some recipe ideas for adding ginseng into your daily routine!—or reach out to learn more about how you can get involved.