Sunday, February 15th, 2009

American Ginseng

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, L.) is a perennial herb and grows wild in deciduous forests of the eastern United States. American ginseng is an erect plant that reaches a height of 0.3 to 0.7 meters and has fusiform roots, greenish-white flowers and red berries. The roots and rhizomes are often branched or forked, and they bring a premium price if they resemble a human form. Wild ginseng once thrived along most of the nation’s eastern seaboard, from Maine to Alabama and west to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. American ginseng, (panax quinquefolium) was at one time plentiful in all mountainous regions of the United States. However, it was over-harvested in the mid-1970s, and was subsequently defined as an endangered species. Now, only licensed ginseng harvesters are allowed to dig for the wild ginseng root.