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Ginseng Root Buyers Lists by State

Ginseng Dealers email karen@altnature.com for a free listing.

In most cases, a Ginseng dealer’s license is required to sell Ginseng roots over state lines. This includes online sales so some people on the state supplied licensed Ginseng dealers lists may have bought licenses for that purpose, and may not be actual Ginseng root buyers.

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Starting from seed

Recently, I have seen some discussions on seed and treating seed after purchasing it. It seems I have to keep leaving my disclaimer, but here it goes, I do not profess to be an expert only 2 years into growing ginseng. Then again, I don’t really think the experts are experts, seems like Ginseng always surprises one.
So, anyway, these discussions have been relative to treating seed and about wild seed verses cultivated seed. What I post here is my opinion based on what I have learned or what I think.
First, wild verses cultivated seed. I do not think there is one single hard answer to this.There are to many variables and those differ from year to year. In my opinion, introducing a degree of genetic diversity rarely does any harm to any commercially grown crop.There are discussions about introducing weaknesses by introducing cultivated seed. Honestly I do not see a logic in that. Yes, survival of the fittest can weed out weaker plants or seeds, but it can also weaken genetic diversity. But, I do not think I can talk about this without discussing the importance of the seed itself. Where it comes from and what kind of spraying program the grower has.
IF, I have done one thing right in Ginseng, I believe it was getting to know my grower I buy seed from. This particular person is very choosy about what seed he harvests. He will only pick seed from his best cleanest gardens. And he has a very intricate spraying program, and he is also out in his gardens every day monitoring them. In my opinion, cultivated seed CAN be a cleaner, safer, more disease free seed than wild grown seed. It is no secret a lot of our disease is carried into our gardens in the seed we buy. So, it makes sense that the cleaner our seed, the less disease, in general. Knowing your seed source and where the seed comes from is paramount in my opinion. If you buy seed from a diseased garden, you are going to fight disease from day 1.
Secondly, is treating seed, I see so many growers recommending treating purchased seed, whether it had already been treated or not. I disagree with this, in general. IF you buy seed that has not been treated, by all means treat it. Personally, I want to purchase seed that came from a clean garden and was treated as soon as it could be.
Again, I do not believe there is a single hard fast rule, but buying good seed is the whole deal. My particular seed supplier treats his seed with a Captan solution. Captan is , perhaps, the best old standard broad spectrum fungicide known in the Ginseng industry. Widely used and widely known for it’s effectiveness in treating / preventing several different common Ginseng diseases.
Here is where it gets tricky, in my opinion, if you buy seed that has already been treated with Captan or one of the other commercial products, treating it again can do more harm than good. In my opinion, taking seed that has been treated with a good fungicide and soaking it in a bleach or peroxide mixture likely compromises the effectiveness of what it has already been treated with and you lose efficiency. I admittedly have not tried to do any controlled testing, to many variables, but in my opinion, say Captan, is more effective than a bleach or peroxide mixture. So, soaking treated seed compromises, dilutes, or weakens what the seed has already been treated with, and I believe you do more harm then good.
Feel free to share your opinions. Dan

Tariffs on Ginseng

I have no intention of inciting a political discussion of rights, wrongs or opinions. What I will post is as I see it. As we all know, much of our American Ginseng goes to China. In years gone by , trade deals have been negotiated, that, honestly, have been one sided. We generally think of this as a Ginseng thing, but it spans the entire agricultural industry ( and more )from milk, to soybeans, to, yes, ginseng. When China pays 0% tariff on American Dairy products, but America pays 28% on Chinese Dairy product, Houston we have a problem.
So times are tough for ginseng growers, and honestly, all farmers.I look to see quite a few cultivated guys quit after this. Or at least that’s what I hear from guys growing cultivated. But I think the important question is, what do we do about it?
First, I think prices will come back, maybe not where they were 2 years ago, but better than they are now, for sure. Second, I think the tariffs will have some unforeseen positive effects. I think, for one, these tariffs and subsequent price increases will open more doors domestically for ginseng that never leaves the country. Again, question is, how do we do that. But coast to coast growers must find a way to dominate in our domestic market. We have to find a way to organize and be a driving force to develop domestic markets, from the health conscious crowd to the traditional Asian crowd. I truly do think this is a time where there will be opportunity for domestic finished product ( roots, root slices, powder, tea and other products ). Simple enough to say, figuring out how to do so, not so much so.
Feel free to share your thoughts.

My thoughts on cultivated seed in wild settings

This is sort of a hotbed topic in ginseng circles. Most of the PhDs involved in ginseng genetic research suggest that if localized ginseng populations outcross to cultivated strains, the result will be the breaking up of evolved specific local tolerances (the gnome). Basically all doom and gloom.
However, there is research that suggests the largest dangers to wild ginseng is (in no particular order here) loss of habitat, whitetail deer, and lack of genetic diversity through generations of being isolated and consistent selfing.

Consider though, that the most genetic diversity is found in commercial fields -not in the woods. The ginseng in Wisconsin and Ontario came from the woods originally. I know others disagree, but in my own personal experience, cultivated seed planted in the woods with no growth enhancers is actually wild /wild simulated root. It is indistinguishable in every way. The best example I can give of the concept is domestic pigs. In only one maybe two generations they revert to being completely feral.
While most of the researchers are focusing on the doom and gloom possibilities, there is another -and just as likely- side of the story. You see, when most plants and animals outcross they pick up a certain degree of enhanced growth called hybrid vigor. This can be significant. But you know what, they might also pick up some elements of genetic resistance (if there really even is such a thing in ginseng at all).

And, in this PhD’s opinion….I would rather have a lot of ginseng growing and producing seed and new generations of plants than have little or no ginseng at all. The idea of ‘polluting’ natural stands is a non issue in my mind and in my experience.

~Original post at Growing Ginseng: A Beginner’s Group facebook page as part of a conversation there.

Ginseng Herbal Use

Taken over an extended period, it is used to increase mental and physical
performance, Ginseng is said to be therapeutic for the whole body.

Ginseng plant growing in the woods with small early flower
Forest Grown Ginseng

This article was written by my late friend, Deb Jackson, around 1999. She was one of my early mentors and a major contributor to the plant descriptions on Altnature.com. Deb passed away in May of this year.
It been edited and updated a few times.

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A Few things I’ve Learned about Ginseng in 50 years

I always buy stratified seeds that have been disinfected, as an extra precaution I soak them in hydrogen peroxide myself. To do this, I put 2 tablespoons peroxide in 1 gallon of water, stir it around a bit then add the seeds. Let them soak for about 5 minutes, take out and air dry.

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Ginseng Basics – A Beginners Guide Part 1

Your mission as a Good Ginseng Steward, should you choose to accept, is plant seed, learn all you can, harvest ethically, and pass your knowledge along as you learn. The first step is finding the best place you have to plant it, and getting the seed. You have plenty of time to learn the rest as you go along.

I’m happy to see interest from people who want to begin to grow Ginseng. Growing Ginseng in your woods isn’t easy money but can be very rewarding as a long term plan. Planting ginseng seed is also a great way to teach your children about working on long term goals. If you get your five-year-old kids out planting, tell them they are raising money for their first car in ten years! Continue reading “Ginseng Basics – A Beginners Guide Part 1”

Planting Depth of Ginseng Seeds:

Many growers choose the “rake and scatter method” to plant their seeds mainly because it’s the easiest of all methods. However, in recent years, through scientific research, I have been enlightened to the benefits of planting ginseng seeds .5-.75 inches in the soil. Here are the benefits of planting ginseng seeds at this depth.