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Old 10-16-2009, 11:31 AM   #1
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Default Any ginseng experts out there?

Never thought much about the ginseng plant or its value until I caught a trespasser on one of my trail cams harvesting the stuff recently. After doing some research I see it can be very valuable and there are certain laws and regs that must be followed in its harvest. I have 30 seconds of video of the trespasser on my property and a good face shot of him. I have e-mailed it to several buyers in my area. I hope they can give me a name or a lead of some kind as there are very few licensed buyers in the area. Everyone I spoke to has been very helpful and would like to know who the ginseng thief is also. The going rate on Iowa ginseng is between $175 and $300 a pound with certain roots selling for upwards of $700 a pound! Have any of you ever looked for this stuff and if so what are some tips you can give a novice?
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:36 PM   #2
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ginseng takes a very long time to grow to mature plants that are big enough to harvest I believe they need to be three prongers before you can dig them. which I think is about 7 to 8 yrs. and yes you are correct you need a license ($10.00)to dig and I believe a dealers license to sell it. which I think runs about $100.00. I'm not exactly sure about the season but I believe it opens sometime in october.I used to hunt it alot with my dad when no license was needed. because of the value of the root people that dig it to sell don't really discuss it much, let alone talk about where it was found. it's very hush hush. In alot of areas the ginseng has been so heavly harvested that it no longer exists there. I believe most of it found here in the states is shipped to china where they no longer have very much wild ginseg due to over harvesting. if you do dig some make sure that the red berries (seeds) get replanted. once you know what to look for it's very easy to find especially once it starts to yellow no other plant has it's yellow color.
you can age the plant by the number of rings between where the stem attaches and where the root starts each ring is 1 year. I've been told that some years it does not grow due to conditions. do your research on the roots and look at alot of pictures of the roots, so you know when you dig what to expect they say a perfect root will be in the shape of a man with arms and legs.
now you have another addiction and a another item to keep the trespassers from stealing. I think they are a very cool plant and I am trying to get some to grow in my shade garden that is a patch of timber close to the house. here is a pic for you of a couple, I think 1 is a 4 pronger and one is a three.
this one is a 4

good luck. let me know if you have any specific questions.

this sight has some good info.
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Last edited by gobblechaser; 10-16-2009 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:22 PM   #3
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Very helpful link, thanks!
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:38 PM   #4
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Doesn't it have to be dried before you can sell it? How much does it take to make a pound once dried?
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:45 PM   #5
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Good advice Gobblechaser, I used to hunt it alot myself and the last time was about 15 years ago. It is really scare in Iowa now due to people digging it too early (before the berries are ripe) and and over harvesting at least I think personally. Last time I dug it it was at $600 a pound (dry), it takes alot to make a pound. For you guys thinking about growing it, you might be better off growing some other crop because the price drops dramatically on home grown or cultivated seng to half or less per pound. Digging ginseng is more of a hobby for most these days instead of a money maker.
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:46 PM   #6
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I came up on quite a bit of it last saturday while tracking a doe i shot on this one hillside, never dug it up just left it. I also used to hunt for it with my dad and gobblechaser.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:27 AM   #7
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How tall does it get. I found something in the timber that looks like it but it's about 6ft tall and another that was at least 4ft. They had a red stem and berries with the yellow leaves? Is it ginseng or something else?
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:59 AM   #8
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It doesn't get 6 feet tall to my knowledge. It takes a lot of root to make a pound when dried but there are some people really making decent money off it if they know how to harvest and care for it. There is a lot to it, so don't go just pulling it willy nilly. Those who know what they are doing are very carefull with their patches of it and guard it jealously.

I had a friend from Keokuk who had severl alrge patches hidden away across the state and made a good living from it, and that was before the price got so high. He died and someone is going to stumble across several thousand dallars worth of ginseng one of these days because as far as I know he left no word about the locations.

The season is in September not Oct.. at least it used to be. Maybe they changed it.
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Old 10-18-2009, 05:17 AM   #9
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Default Ginseng Information


What is Ginseng?

Alternate Names: The two most common types of ginseng are Panax ginseng, also called Asian, Korean or Chinese ginseng, and Panax quinquefolius, also called American, Canadian, or North American ginseng.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, each type of ginseng is thought to have unique healing properties. American ginseng has more "cooling" properties, which make it valuable for fever and respiratory tract disorders. Asian ginseng has "heating" properties, which are good for improving circulation.

The active compounds in ginseng are believed to be steroid-like components called "ginsenosides".

Why Do People Use Ginseng?

The word Panax comes the Greek word meaning "all-healing". In much of Asia, ginseng is prized as a revitalizer for the whole body. This is partly due to the shape of the root, which resembles the human body.

Mental and Physical Performance

Ginseng is known as an adaptogen, which means it increases resistance to physical, chemical, and biological stress and builds energy and general vitality.

Immune Function

A study examined 323 people who had had at least two colds in the prior year. Participants were instructed to take two capsules per day of either the North American ginseng extract or a placebo for a period of four months.

The mean number of colds per person was lower in the ginseng group than in the placebo group. The proportion of subjects with two or more colds during the four-month period was significantly lower in the ginseng group than in the placebo group, as were the total symptom score and the total number of days cold symptoms were reported for all colds.


In one study, Panax ginseng in dosages of 100 or 200 milligrams were given to 36 people with newly-diagnosed non-insulin dependent diabetes. After eight weeks, there were improvements in fasting blood glucose levels, mood, and psychophysical performance. The 200 milligram dose also resulted in improved hemoglobin A1C levels (a test that measures how well blood sugar has been controlled during the previous three months).

Erectile Dysfunction

In one research study of 90 men with erectile dysfunction, 60% of the participants reported improvement in their symptoms compared with 30% of those using the placebo. Unlike prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction which are usually taken when needed, ginseng only appears to be useful for erectile dysfunction if taken on a continuous basis.


The dosage often used in research studies is 200 mg a day of a standardized ginseng extract.

Some traditional herbalists recommend using ginseng for no more than three weeks at a time, followed by a one to two week rest period.

Side Effects and Safety of Ginseng

Pregnant or nursing women or children should avoid ginseng. People with hormone-dependent illnesses such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or cancers of the breast, ovaries, uterus, or prostate should avoid Panax ginseng because it may have estrogenic effects.

Panax ginseng may decrease the rate and force of heartbeats, so it shouldn't be used by people with heart disease unless under the supervision of a healthcare providers.

Ginseng may lower blood sugar levels, so it shouldn't be taken by people with diabetes unless under a doctor's supervision. Ginseng may worsen insomnia.

Side effects of ginseng may include nervousness, agitation, insomnia, diarrhea, headaches, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations.

Herb-Drug Interactions

Ginseng can increase the effect of blood-thinners (antiplatelet or anti-clotting drugs), such as clopidogrel, ticlopidine (Ticlid), warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, and aspirin, which may result in uncontrolled bleeding or hemorrhage. Certain herbs, such as danshen, devil's claw, eleuthero, garlic, ginger, horse chestnut, papain, red clover, and saw palmetto, can also increase the risk of bleeding if combined with ginseng.

Ginseng may affect heart rhythm and can increase potential side effects from theophylline (and similar asthma drugs), albuterol, clonidine, sildenafil citrate (Viagra).

Panax ginseng may interact with insulin and other drugs for diabetes, such as metformin (Glucophage), glyburide (Glynase), glimepiride (Amaryl), and glipizide (Glucotrol XL).

Ginseng may interfere with the metabolism of monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as phenelzine sulfate (Nardil), tranylcypromine sulfate (Parnate) and isocabaxazid (Marplan). It's also believed to affect levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals that carry messages from nerve cells to other cells) and may interact with antipsychotic drugs such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and fluphenazine (Prolixin).

Ginseng stimulates the central nervous system, so it may increase the effects of prescription drugs that do the same (such as medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, narcolepsy, and obesity. The combination may raise heart rate and blood pressure.

Ginseng has been found to interfere with the metabolism of drugs processed by an enzyme called cyp3A4. Ask your doctor to check if you are taking medications of this type.

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