A Journey Born From Asian Wisdom

Time-honoured Korean herbal wisdom meets modern technology for skincare that transcends the effects of time.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Time-honoured Korean herbal wisdom meets modern technology for skincare that transcends the effects of time.

In the Joseon Dynasty in the 16th Century, noble women used to soak themselves in a ginseng bath for clearer, more radiant skin. This ritual was also a popular treatment for brides before their wedding day. The belief in the curative properties of ginseng was so far-reaching that women would regularly sip tea made from the ground leaves of the ginseng plant, in the hopes that it would prevent skin blemishes, wrinkles and dark spots.

Six hundred years on and this time-tested holistic wellness regimen is still being practised by modern Korean women. Ancient rituals like these – drawn from the principals of traditional Asian medicine – is what prompted AmorePacific founder, Suh Sung-Whan, to formulate herbal remedies centred on the use of the ginseng root to promote vitality and youthful-looking skin.

Curiosity Piqued

As a young boy living in a town in Korea known for its potent ginseng harvests, a young Suh would come to master the art of sourcing for the best ingredients while helping his mother run her camellia oil business. Through these regular outings, he would familiarise himself in the healing powers of Korean medicinal herbs and this would ignite the spark that would lead to his lifelong dedication to finding innovative ways to use these herbs in skincare.

His fascination with ginseng has its origins there as well. With its anti-ageing and youth-injecting properties, South Korean women were already touting ginseng as nature’s answer to Botox, and Suh was equally mesmerised. He studied the plant and other indigenous herbs, and distilled these ingredients for their health and beauty benefits.

Traditional Philosophies, Modern Technologies

In 1966, Suh started what would go on to become five decades of intensive research into how best to extract ginseng’s medicinal properties and deliver it efficiently to the skin. His company set itself apart from other brands by using ginseng in its entirety – root, leaf, stem, berries, flowers – and drew on the traditional Eastern philosophy of sang-seng, or “harmony between opposing energies”, to achieve a glowing and nourished complexion. Scientists soon identified saponin as the active anti-ageing compound present in ginseng and subsequent studies would focus on stabilising this ingredient and enhancing its skincare efficacy. It was this research that resulted in the birth of a new weapon in the fight against ageing: The Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream.


We trace the impressive evolution of Sulwhasoo’s Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX over five decades:

My Reading Room
My Reading Room


Suh Sung-hwan’s dream of harnessing the powers of ginseng in skincare comes true with the release of ABC Ginseng cream, the very beginnings of presentday Sulwhasoo.


AmorePacific is granted a patent to extract the active ingredient, saponin, from ginseng after years of extensive research and development.


Ginseng SAMMI is launched as the first skincare brand containing cultivated ginseng in its formulation.


Suh continues to develop his line of products, re-branding it as SAMMI in Korea’s domestic market.

My Reading Room


Sulwha, the first cosmetics brand to combine skin physiology with herbal medicine, is born.

My Reading Room


Sulwhasoo is launched in joint research with the Kyunghee University of Oriental Medicine.

My Reading Room


ABC Ginseng Cream first launched in 1966 is rereleased as the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream.

My Reading Room


Combining 50 years of ginseng research, Sulwhasoo launches the latest re-iteration of its signature anti-ageing cream: The Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX.