Conservation and the American Ginseng

Ginseng, the ubiquitous, all-encompassing darling of the alternative medicine and natural health movements, itself a stocky, unassuming root, is in trouble. Prized as a curative additive in everything from sports drinks to dietary supplements, the vast majority of commercial ginseng is farmed in two Canadian provinces and Wisconsin. While commercial stocks remain robust, it is wild ginseng that fetches the highest market price, up to $1,200 a pound, and is used in some high-end ginseng containing products and traditional and alternative medicines. The leading exporter of wild ginseng is the United States, where 85,000 pounds are legally harvested and exported primarily to Hong Kong every year.

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