How to Grow Wild Ginseng


I've told folks, you know, that have been interested in ginsense or that have asked me questions like, well, the first rule of ginseng club is you don't. Talk about ginseng club. It's not illegal, but it works just like the drug industry, I guess. 

It's it's not the part that we want to deprive it from anybody else. It's the part of doing it in a way to where you're not going to destroy it. The global ginseng industry is worth billions of dollars. 

Americans harvest and sell wild ginseng to dealers who export large amounts to Hong Kong, where it's distributed to markets around Asia. But exports from the United States have fallen in recent years due to increased trade regulations and diminishing supply. 

And when supply is down, prices go up. Last year, American wild ginseng exports were worth $27 million, and Appalachian locals continue this lucrative trade. We're going to go dig a little bit of wild ginseng. 

And we're right on the backside of Boone, North Carolina, and where appstate is, so it's pretty cool. Got a couple of them over here. We've got a good three prong right here, another one right here. This is what we really want to be finding is this route right here. 

All right, there we are. The Asian market favors these stress rings, so that's a very neat little route right there, and it's got good quality on it. In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng roots are prized for their apparent medical benefits, and the global market for them is worth billions. 

Ginseng only grows in certain climates. It used to grow widely in parts of Asia, but was overharvested generations ago. But it also happens to thrive in the mountains of Appal Lacha. Americans have been harvesting and trading the roots with Asia for hundreds of years. 

In 2013, a pound of ginseng was worth nearly one $300, which inspired a lot of small time diggers and dealers to expand their business. Awesome. I'd love to look at it. That was average prices, of course. 

If it's real good, I pay up. It's just like oil or whatever. When it's hot, it's hot, and when it's not, it's not. If China's doing good, ginseng is doing good. When you buy ginseng, you're very cautious. 

So of course you're going to keep a gun in your vehicle. People call the law on you because they think you're doing drugs. Would I shoot anybody over my ginseng? No, I wouldn't. I've had a lot stolen. 

The people that's going around stealing everybody's ginseng are the drug addicts, the thieves, and they're doing it to get a quick fix. That's the ones that I send out the door. When somebody hears you can go out in the woods for a day and get something and it brings anywhere from six hundred dollars to one thousand dollars a pound, that's going to bring a lot of bad publicity to something that's already on the endangered list. 

Ginseng is listed in appendix Two of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which means that unless his trade is carefully controlled, it's at risk of extinction. 

People like Jim Hamilton are trying to make sure that doesn't happen by teaching locals to plant and harvest their own wild ginseng sustainably. What we have here is sort of ideal ginseng woods. This is a ginseng seedling. 

You take a look at the size of the ginseng seed here. We're teaching how to plant wild simulated ginseng here in Appalachia. Finding ginseng and hunting ginseng is sort of a sacrosanct tradition amongst the folks who have learned how to hunt ginseng from their parents, their grandparents, and on Ford. 

So you have more people that are hunting ginseng, not just your traditional diggers, but you have folks that are harvesting out of season and therefore not giving the plant a chance to reproduce. In general, you can't go out and find huge stands of ginseng. 

Like you could say 100 years ago when I first started hunting ginseng with my father. It was something I was doing because he enjoyed doing it. But once we were fortunate enough to find some of it and we took it to the place where we sold it, I realized how valuable it was. 

The thing with ginseng, I think it's led a lot of people with the misconception of how valuable it is money wise. And if people's only hunting ginseng just for the dollar value of it, those are the people that probably will do more harm to the ginseng over a period of time than the people that really enjoy doing it all. 

This area that's behind me where you see all these little flags was all planted this year. Just can't wait to see it come up. The enjoyment that you get, it's about like growing a garden. You ram. 

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