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Wild American Ginseng Facts

If you are new to ginseng, you may be surprised to learn of its fervent following, especially when it comes to wild-harvested varieties. Here’s what we unearthed about American ginseng, a sought-after member of the ginseng family.

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  • Tens of thousands of pounds of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) are harvested from the wild each year.

  • While the average harvest amount has dwindled, the price has skyrocketed.

  • Between 2000 and 2007, harvesters made an estimated $22 million to $43 million each year from the sale of wild-harvested American ginseng root.

  • Counties with more poverty and unemployment had much higher harvest rates.

  • Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia account for about 70% of the total harvest from the wild.

  • Wild American ginseng roots fetch 10 to 25 times more money per pound than ginseng grown in fields under shade cloths.

  • A dry pound of wild-harvested roots can sell for hundreds of dollars.

  • About 90% of farmed ginseng is exported.

  • Since 1999, there has been a federal ban on exporting roots younger than five years old.


Source: US Department of Agriculture

Information in this article was derived from the US Department of Agriculture’s Southern Research Station:


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