kentucky Wild Weeds: Ginseng

This installment is number one in a new series kindly written by our own GloryBeHerbals Jackie Alberti who was this weeks Feature Friday Interview!

Look for more articles coming weekly on Kentucky Wild weeds! THANKS JACKIE!!!!

Kentucky Wild Weeds

Panax quinquefolius, commonly known as American Ginseng is our most valuable native medicinal plant. The root has been a really lucrative product for people in our state and others, and over-harvesting has put the American ginseng on the endangered list. The state of Kentucky has very strict regulations on how to harvest and market dried ginseng root (unless it is grown on your land) so if you run across it in the woods you shouldn’t dig it up. As you can see from the picture it is quite easy to grow yourself! There are many reputable sources on the internet for buying bare roots if you’re interested in growing your own. If you have land with a wooded area, that would be an ideal place to grow it. It prefers partial shade leaf litter for compost. I have my ginseng in an area that gets only a couple of hours of direct sunlight a day and I mulch it with living mulch. It’s very happy and is getting noticeably bigger every year.

Ginseng is an adaptogen, which means that long term use helps the body adapt to stress, builds endurance and strengthens immunity. There are many species of panax ginseng (Korean, Chinese, etc.). Unlike the asian ginsengs, American ginseng has a more cooling effect.

American ginseng is the preferred species so wild stands are becoming strained from the demand.

I hope all my fellow Kentuckians will choose to raise this plant in their gardens. It will help to save one of our most valuable natural resources.


Kelli said...

This is great! Sustainable gardening of our natural, *native* resources is so important, that anyone who has a green thumb should consider partitioning a small section of their garden for native remedies.

Robin Green said...

very cool!

facesarefunny said...

This has been on my wish list for a while! I wonder if Shooting Star Nursery has it? They have lots of Kentucky natives. Man, your plant sure looks healthy!
I remember a long time ago Charles Kuralt took his On The Road show to Eastern Kentucky and they dug 'sang' in the mountains where the locals had stands (is that the right word?) of ginseng growing in the woods and protected their secret spots fiercely! Boy, I sure do miss that show.

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us! Can't wait for the next one!