Panax trifolius, or Dwarf Ginseng, is in Araliaceae - the Ginseng Family. The genus is of the "true Ginsengs" that also contains American Ginseng and famous Chinese herbs like Asian Ginseng and Notoginseng.
The family includes many famous medicinals like Aralia (Devil's Walking Stick), Devil's Club, English Ivy, and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus). In our area the genus Aralia also includes Spikenard and Wild Sarsaparilla (which is not in Smilax like the "true" Sarsaparilla vines discussed in the previous post). Other local genera include Hydrocotyle and foreigners like Acanthopanax and
Kalopanax. Many species in Araliaceae are important medicinals.
Though little-known today, Dwarf Ginseng was used by the Cherokee as a medicinal herb. Moerman lists (in Native American Ethnobotany) that is is for sharp pains of the breast, headaches, rheumatism, hives, short breath, colic, "nervous debility", dyspepsia, stroke, fainting, tuberculosis, and venereal disease. Iroquois used for chest pains; and for lacrosse players and fishing medicine. Ojibwa used poulticed roots to stop bleeding.
Nathaniel Whitmore, herbalist