Ginseng (panax schin-seng) is an Asiatic perennial of the woods. The root can grow to over 2 1/2 feet, and sometimes has the whimsical appearance of a wooden human figure. It flowers in the summer and then bears a small red fruit which is eaten. The popularity of the plant has left it in an endangered position, but ginseng is cultivated for use. There are several extraction methods for preparing the ginseng root.
Add one ounce of dried ginseng, or 1/2 ounce (depending on desired strength, to a pint of boiling water in a non-metallic pot. Steep this infusion for roughly 10 minutes. Strain the liquid.
Use a cold extraction by steeping the dried ginseng in a non-metallic pot of cold water. Use 2 ounces of dried ginseng to a pint of cold water (cold extractions use double the amount of root as for hot). Steep for 8 to 12 hours and strain.
Fill a glass container or bottle with 3-4 ounces of dried ginseng. Pour 8-12 ounces of vodka or other neutral drinking alcohol over the ginseng. Add water for a 50 percent dilution. Cover the ginseng completely with the alcohol and water solution. Seal the container and steep (at room temperature) for two weeks. Strain the liquid and use as desired.
Use a teaspoon of the extraction to a cup of water, tea or other drink.
Never use reactive pots like steel, iron or copper.
Cold extractions limit the release of bitter or unpalatable elements while preserving the desirable volatile oils. This is similar to the extraction of vanilla.
Refrigerate all but the alcohol extraction. Cold and hot infusions only keep for a few days refrigerated.
Extracts are always used diluted.