Partners with Nature: Ginseng Cooperators
Asking is the best way to gain the cooperation of wild plants! If we wish to grow ginseng, we can ask: how
does this plantnormally prefer to grow in nature? By giving the plant what it prefers, it will grow better!We
can ask the plant to tell us what it needs. We can ask the plant to grow well for us.If we want medicine we can
ask: what is the natural power of this plant? What is the best way to prepare it and use it? We can ask the
plant to be good for our health.Storing, drying, preparing, shipping, and merchandising herbs:what does this
plant (or part of a plant) need to maintain its vital powers, in order to ultimately benefit theperson who uses
it?Asking the plants makes them feel respected. Treating them as partners, the plants can help us more!
WOODLAND OWNER INCENTIVES
Wild Ginseng and Goldenseal are both valuable resources from woodlands. Next year or the year after it might
be any one of the hundreds of plants who live in our forests, that gains popularity as useful medicine!Our
children may need that medicine!Most woods are privately owned. Farmers and landowners are pressed to get
income from their land in order to support taxes and maintenance expenses. Often the woods are logged severely
or converted to cattle pastures, for the income.In 1996, in Adair County Kentucky I paid a percent ofdigging
income to 7 landowners, from whose woods the herbs were extracted. I am continuing that relationship with one
landowner at present. An article in the local paper also encouraged landowners to think about leasing the
digging rights. Sharing wild herbs profit with the owners of woodland, provides incentive for the landowner to
sustain the woodlandswhere herbs grow wild.
Re-planting native herbs that have disappeared or become scarce from a woods, is a very good way to ensure
their survival in the future! It's easy! Simply look at what kind of conditions that plant chooses in its
natural habitat. Then find a source of seed or rootstocks, and plant them in appropriate conditions in the
woods.Re-planting is one of the main ways to show respect and partnership with the herbs. In return, the herbs
will help you in any way they can!Cultivated production of native herbs, such as ginseng, is a way of supplying
our human needs without destroying the natural wild resource. Cultivation is a protection for the wild.
When cultivating, you can learn from the wild habitat how to give the plants what they prefer.The medicinal
herb plants have evolved specifically to serve humans and other animals as medicines. They have evolved to grow
mixed in with other herbs of forest and meadow habitats. They have evolved to grow wild and freely accessible
for all who need them.Both wild and cultivated planting are of great benefit! We need both!
Another excellent way to give nature a helping hand is to encourage other people! Support schools and
nonprofitseducation about nature and wildlife -- and take action on yourown! We need more specific and complete
introduction of people to the beauty and value of wild herb plants. The many plants of forest and meadow, as
well as the animals, are partners with humans on earth! Since many people don't get a chance to spend time in
nature, we need to bring images andinformation to them, so they will know something about their wild neighbours
and appreciate their inter-dependence with wildpartners.Here are some ways you can help Mother Nature!
- Herb walks are a fun way to learn and teach!
- Talk or write about how to use plants
- Be a voice in favour of wild habitats
- Express nature interest through the arts!
Please write and tell me about your activityto help wild plants and habitats.