Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Supercharged Ginseng grown
on New Zealand’s fertile volcanic slopes
Ginseng is not
a crop you would normally associate with New Zealand.
However, crops planted 20 years ago on fertile North Island
volcanic land shows it grows very successfully, according to
Riddet Institute scientists, based at Massey University,.
Wild ginseng is now very rare so most crops are
cultivated and produced commercially in the Northern
hemisphere. Recent research by Alpha-Massey Natural
Nutraceuticals Research Centre and School of Food and
Advanced Technology, Massey University shows that New
Zealand ginseng is a superior product as it contains high
amounts of its active components, ginsenosides. In fact, New
Zealand grown ginseng contains nearly 50% more ginsenosides
compared to northern hemisphere grown ginseng.
research suggests that volcanic pumice soil, found in New
Zealand, may be very suitable for the growth of ginseng and
represent a great opportunity for New Zealand growers. This
lucrative business proposition – growing ginseng as a
secondary crop under a pine tree canopy – can produce a
yield that can sell for greater sums per kilo due to its
enhanced effectiveness. The plantation used for this study
is the open-field forest environment near Taupo and Rotorua
and is managed by Kiwiseng Co., New Zealand’s biggest
certified organic ginseng producer.
Used for more than
2000 years, Ginseng is a very popular traditional Chinese
medicine, and it is one of the oldest Chinese herbs. In
ancient China, ginseng cured all; used for first aid, health
care, and the treatment of coma, cardiovascular disease and
gastrointestinal diseases. Ginseng possesses diverse
bioactive effects, such as anti-aging, anti-stress,
anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetes components.
PhD student Wei Chen and his supervisors Dr. Prabhu Balan
and Dr. David Popovich, published their recent findings in
the international publication, Journal of Ginseng Research.
Their work identified a total of 102 ginsenosides in ginseng
tissues within different areas of the plant such as the main
root, fine root, stem, and leaf. Of those identified, they
measured the quantity of 21 ginsenosides, in material that
had been grown over a 13-year period, to determine the
optimum growing conditions and harvest time.