By Shim Hyun-chul
Red ginseng, made by processing ginseng, is used widely as an ingredient for medicine and other health food products. With the spread of Influenza A, more people are turning their attention to ginseng and red ginseng to boost their immunity.
Ginseng, which used to grow strictly in the wild, is now grown in various ways. It differentiates into "sansam," "jangnoesam" and cultivated ginseng, depending on its location. Sansam refers to ginseng grown deep in the mountains whereas jangnoesam is grown in the woods.
The ginseng also has different names depending on how it is processed. It is called "susam," if used as unprocessed, "baeksam," or dried ginseng, and
hongsam," or red ginseng, to refer to ginseng that is peeled, cooked and then dried.
Among these, red ginseng preserves well as it's easy to store for a long time without affecting its quality. Also, new elements are added into the red ginseng as it is peeled, cooked and then dried. It is first air-dried and then sun-dried, or dried through other methods so that the moisture level reaches about 12.5 to 13.5 percent.
Red ginseng is known to boost immunity, combat diabetes, reduce high blood pressure, enhance brain activity and fight fatigue.
Red ginseng was first raised in the country in 1080, and remained a government-owned production until 1996.
If you are interested in learning more about ginseng or purchasing it, Geumsan county in South Chungcheong Province will host the 29th Geumsan Ginseng Festival, which opens today and will run through Sept. 27. For more information, visit http://tour.geumsan.go.kr or call 041) 750-2386.