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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Ginseng \Gin"seng\, n. [Chinese.] (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. [1913 Webster]