Ginseng is a plant that has been valued for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. It is an herbaceous perennial (all of its foliage dies each winter and grows back in the spring), that grows in North America and Eastern Asia. In the U.S., it grows in every state east of the Mississippi river, as well as Washington and Oregon. If you live in these regions, the first step is to locate a shady cool environment deep within a mature hardwood forest. Wild ginseng is not tolerant of heat, so try to pinpoint cool, moist areas like north or east facing slopes. Wild ginseng can be identified by it’s single stalk that branches out into multiple “frons” each of which has around 3-8 leafs. Wild ginseng rarely exceeds two feet in height. To harvest, use a screwdriver to dig down and lever up the root tuber (where all the medicinal substances are located).
WARNING: American Wild Ginseng is a protected species due to extreme overharvesting. Check your local harvesting laws BEFORE starting your hunt. It is generally recommended that you grow ginseng instead of gathering wild ginseng.
For more information about identifying and locating wild ginseng see related links.
For more information about growing ginseng see related links.