Ginseng popularity has been on the rise in the U.S. for the last several years. There are more ginseng containing products in the U. S. market than ever before, such as teas, enriched drinks, and supplements. There also seems to be more interest in the plant as a source of income, thanks to new TV shows like "Appalachian Outlaws" and "Filthy Riches".
Here is a countdown of the top five reasons for growing your own ginseng.
5. Income Potential
Demand for the woodland herb has always been high in the Asian countries, and the increasing popularity of ginseng containing products here in the US only makes the market stronger. Wild populations of the plant continue to decline, therefore, cultivating ginseng to fill the gap between supply and demand has great income potential. So far, this has proven true, as prices for all sources of ginseng continue to reach record highs year after year.
4. Personal Use
The Chinese have revered the root for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Formal studies have shown many health benefits attributed to its use. These include improved immune system function, lowering blood sugar levels, and increasing concentration and learning. Many in the Chinese culture believe ginseng is a "cure all". It has been rumored to boost endurance and treat conditions like impotence, hypertension, heart disease and even cancer.
Gardening in general is a great form of exercise. It is estimated that for a 150 pound person, general gardening burns 272 calories per hour. But gardening does more than just burn calories. A 2013 study by the David Suzuki Foundation found that spending 30 minutes outdoors daily improved participants sense of happiness and well being. Gardening has also been shown to decrease anxiety and decrease the risks of osteoporosis.
2. Preserving Our Heritage
Digging ginseng has been part of the culture of the eastern United States since colonial times. In fact, ginseng and fur were the two biggest exports of the time. In the 1700's, both John Jacob Astor and Daniel Boone made fortunes exporting the roots to China. Selling the root of the plant has been a major source of income for generations of families in the eastern US, especially in the Appalachian and Ozark mountain regions, where few other crops thrive.
1. Saving a Threatened Species
Sadly, wild American ginseng has become threatened and even endangered in several states. It is a very slow growing plant. It does not produce seeds until it is three to eight years old. It is the root of the plant that is harvested and used for its medicinal properties. Therefore, harvesting kills the plant. The two main reasons for the decline in the wild population are over harvesting and loss of habitat. Both of these issues can be addressed by individuals planting and growing ginseng on their own protected property.
Ginseng is grown by people for a variety of reasons, but whatever the purpose, growing ginseng has many benefits for those who engage in this endeavor.