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Ginseng and Human Shape

by KnowingKorea

The English word ‘ginseng’ comes from the Chinese word renshen, 人蔘, which refers to the plant’s resemblance to a human shape. Using the same Chinese characters but with different pronunciations, ginseng is called ‘insam’ in Korean, with exactly the same meaning. When freshly dug up from the farm, ginseng plants would remind you of nothing but a human shape with twisted, or open legs.