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.
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: https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/compass/2020/05/07/american-ginseng-in-the-forest-and-in-the-marketplace/