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Thread: American ginseng

  1. #16
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    Those are pretty small roots. It is too bad that people are in a habit of picking them before the season begins. They want to get a head-start from the competition.

    What motivates people to take those pre-maturely. I can just imagine how some people's lifestyles must be.

  2. #17
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    Taking ginseng is a short term course! Longer usage will result in "empty heat" which can aggravate one's condition.
    Picking the root too young (before maturity) is also bad so you are getting a substandard product

  3. #18
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    Interesting how this story went viral

    I saw a lot of people who posting this on social media commenting on how absurd it was that the police were busting people for ginseng. Clearly none of them had thought to actually read the article and learn that it was about poaching, not about ginseng being illegal. Here's a WSJ article on this.

    Demand for Ginseng Boosts Prices, Tempts Poachers
    Medicinal Herb Grows Wildly in Appalachia and the Midwest
    By Kris Maher
    Sept. 17, 2014 12:34 p.m. ET


    A wild ginseng plant near Bryson City, N.C. Supplies have dwindled partly from the destruction of the forest habitats the plant needs to grow in. Associated Press

    Strong demand from China for wild ginseng growing on shady hillsides throughout Appalachia and the Midwest has boosted prices for the medicinal herb as well as the number of people willing to break the law to dig it up and sell it.

    Ginseng that grows in forests can fetch as much as $1,000 a pound, several hundred dollars more than five years ago, experts said. Prices have shot up amid increased demand from China's swelling middle class and a decline in U.S. exports due to several factors that include stepped-up harvesting regulations and less plentiful supplies.

    Cultivated ginseng, grown under shade cloths in fields, sells for a fraction of the price because wild ginseng more closely resembles the plant indigenous to China.

    The steep prices are tempting many to take to the woods with screwdrivers and homemade digging tools, state officials said.



    In some cases, officials link the drug epidemic in Appalachian communities to increased poaching ahead of the harvest season, when seeds aren't ready to be replanted. Some poachers trade the plant for drugs or cash to buy illegal substances, officials said.

    Officials with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources said Wednesday they had seized 190 pounds of illegal ginseng with a projected market value of $180,000 in the weeks leading up to the season that began Sept. 1. That is up from 30 pounds in a typical year.

    Officials arrested 11 people and seized two stolen handguns, cash and pain pills.

    "It's the most we've ever seen," said Capt. Larry Case, the division's head of law enforcement for eight counties in southern West Virginia.


    A crackdown on illegally harvested ginseng in West Virginia this August netted roughly 200 pounds of ginseng, illegal drugs, weapons and $30,000 in cash. Larry Case

    Other states also are reporting more ginseng busts. Earlier this month, officials in southern Indiana cited or arrested 25 people for possessing ginseng before the legal season or stealing it from private property.

    Overall, the state already is close to topping the total number of ginseng-related arrests last year.

    In August, a repeat poacher in North Carolina was sentenced to 5½ months in prison. In the past year, Wisconsin officials launched Project Red Berry to crack down on ginseng poachers. They issued 175 citations, up from 30 in a typical year.

    Some poachers draped camouflage over their cars to try to avoid being discovered.

    Poaching ginseng and trespassing typically are misdemeanors and require diggers, also known as "sangers," to pay a fine of several hundred dollars and turn over illegally obtained ginseng.

    Dealers can face federal felony charges if they transport illegally obtained ginseng across state lines.

    Law-enforcement officials admit that fines aren't enough to deter many poachers who can just dig up more ginseng. They also say it is impossible to adequately police the millions of acres that ginseng can grow on.

    Ginseng was discovered in North America in 1715 and has long been exported to China, where it is used as a health tonic or traditional treatment for male sexual dysfunction.

    Some experts say there is evidence the American Revolution was partly financed by the ginseng trade because George Washington borrowed money from early trappers who dealt in furs and ginseng. Others note that John Jacob Astor commissioned a ship and sold thousands of pounds of ginseng, along with furs, to China.In 1804, Joseph Smith Sr., the father of the founder of the Mormon Church, sold ginseng for more than $4 a pound. By 1956, the wholesale price was about $20 a pound.These days, the plant is exported from the U.S. in larger volumes than any other native species covered by a treaty between the U.S. and 180 countries that regulates the trade of endangered wildlife.

    The annual wholesale value of the American ginseng trade is $26.9 million, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. About 90% of wild ginseng from the U.S. is exported to Hong Kong before it makes its way to other Asian destinations.

    In 2012, the U.S. exported 45,000 pounds of wild ginseng, compared with 342,000 pounds of cultivated ginseng.

    Wild ginseng supplies have dwindled around the world, partly from the destruction of the forest habitats it requires to grow. In recent years, U.S. regulators have banned or restricted the harvest of ginseng on federal lands and in many state forests.

    Some state officials and ginseng dealers are concerned that increased poaching could endanger ginseng supplies. The 19 states that permit ginseng harvesting enforce strict rules. Diggers are supposed to remove only mature plants and replant the seeds of ripened red berries at the same location.

    Robert L. Beyfuss, a widely recognized ginseng expert and former official at a Cornell University natural-resource program in upstate New York, said a significant amount of ginseng is harvested and sold each year without being reported.

    "It's so easy to sell ginseng illegally," he said.

    Mr. Beyfuss echoed a belief among some experts that the regulations work against the preservation of wild ginseng, and have limited harvesting by those who follow the rules, while not discouraging poachers.

    For example, the rules require diggers to take the entire root to show that the plant is mature.

    In the past, however, diggers would leave behind part of the root, which would allow the plant to grow back more quickly.

    Write to Kris Maher at kris.maher@wsj.com
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #19
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    More ginseng poaching & thievery

    I never realized there was such a black market for it. All you herbalist best keep your stash under lock and key (and surveillance cam even).


    Penn State instructor raising awareness to protect sought-after ginseng from poachers
    BY ALEXA LEWIS
    For the CDT May 9, 2015


    Pictured is Panax quinquefolius, also known as American ginseng. ERIC P. BURKHART — Photo provided

    PETERSBURG — The American ginseng plant’s medicinal powers and economic potential are two reasons a Penn State plant scientist is working hard to save it from poachers across Pennsylvania’s forests.

    Eric Burkhart is the plant science program director at Penn State’s Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. But he also is mediating a conversation among landowners, law enforcement officers, ginseng sellers and consumers about the future of the valued plant.

    Not many people love plants and ginseng the way Burkhart does — he moved an interview with a reporter from inside the environmental center to an outside table overlooking the ginseng he is growing for research.

    Burkhart also is an instructor at Penn State with a master’s degree in horticulture and a doctorate in forestry resources. He said it’s hard to persuade people to care about saving an endangered species when that species is desired for its root and it’s not a “fuzzy animal.”

    For more than 2,000 years, Chinese markets have revered the ginseng plant’s spindle-shaped, fleshy root for its medicinal value. But with today’s international market valuing the root at about $1,000 a pound, the American ginseng, found in the forests of Appalachia and in every county in Pennsylvania, is prey to an increasing number of poachers.

    Conservationists have expressed concern about ginseng for more than a century, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conversation and Natural Resources. Its economic worth has gotten more attention recently because of TV reality shows like “Appalachian Outlaws” and “Smoky Mountain Money,” which deal with ginseng poaching and may have worsened the problem.

    Laws in Pennsylvania are aimed at helping to conserve the plant. Ginseng can only be harvested from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30, only mature ginseng can be harvested, and harvesters must replant the seeds from the plant in its immediate vicinity, according to the conservation department.

    But it’s hard to prove to law enforcement when people don’t abide by those regulations, Burkhart said.

    “People could be stealing ginseng off of our hillside and most people wouldn’t even know what they were doing,” he said.

    Aside from educating law officers on the importance of better enforcement, Burkhart has spent the past 15 years making thousands of calls to rural landowners. He hopes to persuade them to grow ginseng on their forestlands, which would reintroduce more of the plants into the woods.

    Plus, landowners can create a good business for themselves after the eight to 10 years it takes for the root to mature, he said.

    “A lot of them are slow to open up,” he said about the landowners, “especially when people think ginseng is only for ‘hippy-dippy’ people and when it takes so long for the plant to mature.”

    Burkhart appears casual and comfortable. His personable appearance and passionate attitude have allowed him to build strong relationships with older landowners, many of whom he has persuaded to start a family business growing ginseng.

    But he is still looking for his niche audience — the kind of landowners who will keep their ginseng businesses going. He said he is concerned that the children of many of the landowners he has talked to may not carry on the business.

    Burkhart grew up near Cranberry in western Pennsylvania in what he described as a blue-collar family; neither of his parents understood the benefits of ginseng until Burkhart encouraged them to use the root medicinally.

    “We have a lot of forest plants in Pennsylvania not found anywhere else in the world — like American ginseng — that are unique and have complicated ecological relationships with the forests they grow in and the critters that pollinate them,” Burkhart said.

    Ginseng is important to traditional medicine practitioners because there is no medical or herbal substitute for it, Burkhart said. It is thought to compensate in areas where the body may be lacking.

    Ginseng might be effective with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, mental performance, certain types of cancers and impotence, among others, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

    “It isn’t just snake oil,” said Burkhart, who has incorporated his home-grown ginseng into his regimen for the past 10 years.

    William Reyan Sr., who owns Reyan’s Fur & Ginseng in Everett and sells ginseng to other ginseng dealers, said ginseng is more beneficial for health when it is grown in the wild, in forests rather than on farms.

    “It has much more strength that way,” Reyan said.

    When ginseng is grown on farms it is worth about $100 a pound, but in the wild it is worth between $700 and $1,000 a pound, he said.

    “Ginseng is not going to be conserved by putting up a fence and prohibiting people from interacting with it, but by people caring about it,” Burkhart said. People need to learn about it and pay those who grow it a higher rate for their product, he added.

    Many consumers are happy buying low-quality ginseng that lacks the strength and powers of ginseng grown in the wild, he said, comparing it to how people might like boxed wine before trying better-quality wine.

    “If we can’t conserve this particular plant through all of the value it has and all the attention it gets, then we can’t conserve any plant,” Burkhart said.

    Alexa Lewis is a Penn State journalism student.
    Thieves target ginseng root in Scarborough business break-ins
    LOCAL
    by NEWS STAFF
    Posted May 6, 2015 7:02 pm EDT Last Updated May 6, 2015 at 7:29 pm EDT

    It’s nothing new for thieves to seek out loot — but in this case, they’re after root.

    Police say at least five Scarborough businesses have been broken into since November and in each instance quantities of ginger root have been stolen.

    The latest incident took place overnight Monday on Silver Star Boulevard, near Midland and McNicoll avenues.

    Locally, stores sell ginseng for hundreds of dollars a pound. Toronto police tell CityNews that it sells for four to five times that price in China.

    “There is a shortage, is my understanding, so the value is skyrocketed, particularly in China,” said Det. Sgt. Gerry Heany.

    Around $100,000 of the root was lifted in one robbery, and police say all five heists have occurred between 1 and 5 a.m.

    Police have not released any suspect information, but are advising businesses to remain vigilant.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #20
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    People would come up the mountain and be hateful that you didn't want them taking your 'sang.
    would have happily shot them. Think they figured that.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  6. #21
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    black market

    Enforcement Fight to Stop Poaching
    By Juju Chang ARISTIDES PINEDO-BURNS MEAGAN REDMAN Lauren Effron
    Oct 27, 2015, 6:03 AM ET

    Ginseng, a root long considered a natural aphrodisiac and a cure-all in Asia, has been highly coveted for thousands of years.Juju Chang/ABC


    In the back woods of West Virginia, mountain man Rufus Keeney is searching for a valuable prize -- something that's been a part of Appalachian culture for hundreds of years.

    After a few minutes of looking through a wooded hill, Keeney points to a wild patch of green leaves boasting clusters of red berries, connected to an underground network of knotted, ugly roots that are now worth their weight in gold.

    "Ginseng," he said, pointing to the plants.

    The root, long considered a natural aphrodisiac and a cure-all in Asia, has been highly coveted for thousands of years for its mythical properties. Traditional Chinese doctors claim it can cure a number of ailments, although there is not enough science to confirm the most dramatic claims.


    One ginseng root can retail in exotic Asian boutiques from a couple hundred dollars to $1,000 an ounce.Juju Chang/ABC

    American ginseng, which grows from southern Appalachia to Canada, has become a cash crop. One root can retail in exotic Asian boutiques from a couple hundred dollars to $1,000 an ounce, which has led to poaching in some instances.

    Tony Coffman said his family started dealing in ginseng in the 1920s. He is somewhat of a "ginseng broker," a classic middleman in the trade, and he keeps a shotgun within reach in case of a break-in. When the Asian markets for ginseng soared two years ago, Coffman said he had a banner year selling close to 1,000 pounds of the root, which he said brought in "a couple million dollars."

    But the ginseng rush is causing a huge problem for law enforcement throughout the Eastern United States as they try to crack down on illegal harvesting.

    "It's thousands and thousands and thousands of plants that will never be able to reproduce this year," said Lt. Marshall Richards with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

    Only 19 states have a designated state-approved ginseng harvest season and it's illegal to harvest ginseng in national parks, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Almost all of those states require wild ginseng to have at least three leaves to be harvested to ensure the plant is as least five years old -– mature plants have leaves made up of three to five "leaflets."

    "If things keep going at the rate they're going, within 10, 15 years we won't have any ginseng left," Richards said. "So they're putting a pretty good hurt on it."

    Over the last few years, West Virginia natural resources officials say they have confiscated more than 400 pounds of illegally-obtained ginseng with a retail value of more than $5 million. And with illegally-harvested ginseng sometimes comes other types of contraband.

    "If you look at the illegal ginseng and most of the people that are buying it early are also dealing in pills," Richards said. "A lot of the people that are buying early are trading it for pills. Illegal guns, stolen guns, stolen property -- once you get into these, you’ll end up with a lot of ginseng and then you'll also end up with a lot of drugs and some of the firearms."

    Richards and his team use confidential informants to help control the ongoing problem in West Virginia.

    "These guys go through and they'll dig 2-year-old plants, and we call them 'lonies,'" said one informant who asked that his identity not be revealed. "There'll be a hundred lonies in an area like this and they'll dig the whole thing. And it's not the diggers that's really killing this, it's the people that's buying it because they're funding their drugs."

    Law enforcement believe that the popularity of recent so-called hillbilly reality shows such as, "Smoky Mountain Money" on the National Geographic Channel and "Appalachian Outlaws" on the History Channel, is encouraging the ginseng gold rush.

    Rufus Keeney, who was born and raised in these mountains, is one of the characters on "Appalachian Outlaws." He said his family has lived in West Virginia since the 1800s, but now he lives in fear of ginseng poachers and said it's hard to protect his property.

    "Somebody's got to stay here all the time. If I go somewhere, my wife has to be here. We can't leave," he said. "We left the last time to go to Georgia because her daddy had a heart attack in '97 and I had 'seng in here, it was this tall, all over the place. And they come in here three days while we was gone, and they dug it all."

    But Keeney continues to plant and harvest ginseng, and said he hopes the roots he planted this year will become a nest egg for his children.

    Kevin Andersen, another West Virginian, is teaching his children how to harvest the roots, just as he had been taught years ago. But for Andersen, the money his family gets from selling ginseng is secondary to preserving it, as his daughter Sam already knows well.

    "I always use it for charity," she said. "Last year I got $20 and right before Christmas on Christmas Eve, I went to the children's hospital and we bought presents with that money and we gave it to the children that couldn't spend Christmas at home. And this year I got $35 so I’m going to use it again for charity."
    WV Ginseng growers need to take a lesson from CA Pot growers on how to protect your crops.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  7. #22
    It is a huge business Gene and only recently placed in public spotlight. Because of the TV show. America has a long history with China and trading. The states problem is, tax. They can lose millions if it is not processed through proper channels. More importantly. The poachers no longer care about leaving whatever part of the palnt is needed to continue to produce. It all comes out. They are causing real problems with wiping it out totally in areas. I think that happend in China once ? NY has had poacher problems for 20 years. One day, no more wild ginseng in America.
    Last edited by boxerbilly; 10-30-2015 at 06:44 PM.

  8. #23
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    $10,000 prize for winning art

    Wait, is that the art behind him? Looks like a standard Chinese store wall.

    American Ginseng sculpture wins Harper's BAZAAR Art Prize


    The Grand Prize went to Hu Qiren for his piece ‘American Ginseng’. He walked away with a cash prize of $10,000.
    Photo: SPH Magazines

    SINGAPORE - The inaugural Harper's BAZAAR Art Prize competition themed 'Uniquely Asian' was launched in 2015 to commemorate Singapore's 50th anniversary. A competitive platform for aspiring and emerging artists in Singapore to showcase their talent, over 150 entries were received for the four categories - Oil/Acrylic on Canvas, Ink/Watercolour on Paper, Photography and Sculpture.

    The Grand Prize went to Hu Qiren for his piece 'American Ginseng'. He walked away with a cash prize of $10,000. Hu chose ginseng as an inspiration for his piece as it is commonly used in Chinese medicine and its century-old roots are highly priced.

    The US exports ginseng roots, mainly to Hong Kong and China, with American Ginseng fetching the highest price. The installation references a section of a traditional Chinese medicine hall with the American Ginseng placed on the top shelf, according to value. When asked about how he would be using his prize money, Hu laughed and said: "I'm going to make even better work in the future."

    The other category winners were:

    · Ink/Watercolour on Paper: Kristie Sim Ze Ming - 'Metamorphosis'

    · Oil/Acrylic on Canvas: Fiona Koh Li Ping - 'Hardship of Happiness'

    · Photography: Jay Yao Yahan - 'Reflections'

    In collaboration with Robinsons, the Harper's BAZAAR Art Prize exhibition showcases works of the 12 finalists, along with a specially curated selection across various genres to showcase the artists' take on the theme 'Uniquely Asian'.

    The judging panel included Kenneth Goh, BAZAAR's Editor-in-Chief; Christophe Cann, Group CEO of Robinsons Group; Dr Susie Lingham, Director of the Singapore Art Museum; Hazel Lim, Fine Arts Programme Leader at LaSalle College of the Arts; Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and Director of Art Stage Singapore; and Bala Starr, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore.

    The exhibition is held at Robinsons Heeren Level 5 till Jan 31, 2016.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  9. #24
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    The King of American ginseng

    Yeah, this sounds very American...:roll eyes:

    PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 February, 2016, 6:35pm UPDATED : Friday, 05 February, 2016, 6:36pm
    Hang Fat Ginseng -- A tale of greed in Hong Kong’s stock market
    Shirley Yam shirley.yam@scmp.com

    MARKET BUZZ:
    HANG SENG INDEX
    3:34 PM - 24 Feb 2016


    A trader reacts as he works on the trading floor of the stock exchange in Hong Kong on February 3, 2016. Hong Kong stocks plunged in the morning session on February 3 as another sell-off in oil hammered energy firms, while insurance companies were also hit by a report China would clamp down on the purchase of overseas cover. AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE

    Ginseng is a good energizer but an overdose will cause bleeding, so the folks say. Hang Fat Ginseng has certainly lived up to its name.

    Its profit and share price tripled from late 2015 onwards. Then, on January 28, its price dived 91 per cent within the first 15 minutes of trading.

    Yesterday, its founder and Chairman Matthew Yeung said he’s selling his control to pay off some margin financing. His financier is likely to take control of the listed shell which worth HK$600 million, according to market sources.

    This is a classic tale of what has and would happen to the dozens of newly listed companies in the past two years. It is a tale of greed.

    Yeung is no stranger to the game.

    The so-called “King of American Ginseng” loved to talk about his clever bets on apartments, currencies as well as derivatives.

    He listed his ginseng trading business in July 2014. A few months later he told bankers he wanted to sell shares at a valuation three times that of its market price.

    Some took it as a joke, reckoning that it would happen only if he managed to sell ginseng to the Martians because Hang Fat already controlled half of the pretty mature market.

    To their surprise, he did – Hang Fat had a six-month non-stop rally.

    How? First, it reported eye-popping growth. Its profit rose 267 per cent to HK$438 million between 2013 and June 2015. The management attributed that to the exploding ginseng price.

    Stock commentators blared about Hang Fat’s stunning growth on radio, TV and newspapers.

    The reality is most of the ginsengs Hang Fat sold has not been paid. Its 2015 interim sale was HK$1.2 billion. Its account receivable was HK$1.3 billion, 14 times above its 2013 level.

    But who cares. The ginseng trader even managed to sell HK$500 million worth of stakes and notes to two mainland financial institutions.

    As Hang Fat’s price shot up, so has the borrowing of Yeung and his family, as suggested by records with the Central Clearing System(CCASS).

    This is because no broker would lend you money until you have moved shares from your personal safe into its CCASS account as collateral. The result is an increase in shares in the clearing system.

    Given 70 per cent of Hang Fat is in the Yeung family, it would be fair to suggest that any significant rise in stakes in CCASS is related to some financing arrangement.

    Another possibility is Yeung was paranoid of fire or flooding his home and would like to put his shares somewhere.

    During Hang Fat’s price spike, they have deposited an 18 per cent stake with brokers. If that’s collateral, they would have borrowed more than $300 million. There is no evidence to suggest any link between the loan and the price hike.

    In the meantime, Yeung and his brother like many of the bosses of newly listed companies have made bets with all sorts of investment schemes proposed by their private bankers with money from margin finance. It was jolly good.

    By summer, it was all over. The A share market crashed; the yuan depreciated; and Hang Fat’s price dropped 30 per cent.

    The brothers pledged more shares to pay up the margin call and to support Hang Fat’s price.

    They spent at least HK$220 million buying up Hang Fat between August and December, according to company announcements. They had no choice because the lower the price, the worse the margin calls.

    It was futile. The market headed south with the renminbi.

    They had to borrow more. Money Matters estimated from CCASS records that they have pledged more than 45 per cent of Hang Fat’s stake by 27 January.

    The brothers conceded that they have engaged in margin financing with Hang Fat shares as collateral for personal investment purposes but told no one of the size.

    As the pair scrambled for cash, the hunters were circling.

    Some clients of China Industrial Securities (CIS) have been raising its position in Hang Fat to 13 per cent in the past month despite the fall. It was either via lending to the brothers or taking over their margin finance contracts from other brokers.

    Then, they began to dump the shares. The snowball effect triggered by the 91 per cent mark down of prices on 28 January was big enough to bring the Yeungs to their knees.

    They were forced to sell 6.17 per cent at a 50 per cent discount for a meagre HK$23 million. To who? Surprisingly, it’s the clients of CIS. Yeah it is bloody.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  10. #25
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    More on black market ginseng

    Ginseng: the black market herb of the Appalachian


    Contributed by Jeanine Davis
    A root of a ginseng plant from North Carolina. The roots can fetch as much as $500-$1,000 per pound. The harvest of wild ginseng is illegal, but the high price opens up a black market to the plant.


    Contributed by Jeanine Davis
    A commercial ginseng operation. Ginseng typically takes over 10 years to reach maturity in the wild, but under artificial environments can be grown in as little as four.

    Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 11:59 pm | Updated: 12:27 am, Wed Mar 16, 2016.
    Maddy Bonnabeaux, Correspondent

    In the Great Smoky Mountains, ginseng plants are en route to being picked out of existence. Lingering in the woods, poachers are ripping roots for the booming market where ginseng can reach up to $500–$1,000 per pound.
    The medicinal herb is primarily sold in Asia, where it has been historically used as an energy booster, aphrodisiac and health tonic. Although the native ginseng in Asia is a different species, the North American species is also valuable. The native plant has been harvested for several generations, including frontiersman Daniel Boone, who was known to export ginseng to Hong Kong.
    With the high value of the plant, theft is a growing concern. TV programs such as “Appalachian Outlaws” and “Smoky Mountain Money” have also contributed to its surge in popularity. The shows have overdramatized the market, portraying it as an exciting and lucrative business venture.
    While the season for harvesting wild ginseng only lasts from September through December, it requires years to grow to a harvestable size. According to Jeanine Davis, an NC State Research Extension Specialist focusing on medicinal herbs, any berries that contain the seeds on the plant must be planted back when the root is harvested in order to stabilize the populations.
    Though wild ginseng is worth the most, it can also be raised intensively under artificial shade or in the woods under wild-simulated conditions.
    “If you dig up a good-sized ginseng plant in the wild, it might be 20 years old,” Davis said. “But if I grow ginseng in raised beds under artificial shade, I can pull it off in 3–4 years. The roots might only sell for $65 a pound, but there could be 2,000 pounds to the acre.”
    When grown in the woods under wild-simulated conditions, the popular method in the Asheville area, it takes longer and results in much lower yields, but the roots may be worth $200 or more per pound.
    “You don’t fertilize or spray fungicides, just plant the seeds and basically let Mother Nature take her course,” Davis said. “Those roots can take a long time to grow, 10 years or longer.”
    According to Davis, growers often obtain seeds to plant from various regions; therefore, some botanists are concerned that foreign germplasm is being introduced into the woods. For cultivation, companion species, soil chemistry and shade are just a few of the other environmental factors that come into play.
    “It’d be easier to manage if it wasn’t so habitat-demanding,” said Bob Beyfuss, retired Cornell Cooperative Extension American ginseng specialist. “Isolated wooded areas are very difficult to protect.”
    Another problem lies in the perception of poaching itself. When an intruder takes ginseng from someone’s area in a wild environment, it’s a propertied crime. Poaching is an issue for wild ginseng; theft is an issue for ginseng growers. According to Beyfuss, part of the problem in the ginseng industry is that one’s first inclination is to report to the Conservation Department after it has been stolen.
    “If you’re growing ginseng that’s not wild ginseng, your first line of defense should be the police,” Beyfuss said. “Ginseng removal isn’t a victimless crime.”
    Ginseng theft is difficult to regulate, although markers, electronic chips and ultraviolet dye tracers have been helpful in keeping track. According to Davis, ginseng is protected on a national, federal and state level to deter extinction. However, the amount in the wild is uncertain.
    “There’s this mentality that anybody who spends all of their time in the woods is some sort of ignorant hillbilly, and that’s not necessarily true,” Beyfuss said. “People [who] have been harvesting ginseng for generations are probably taking good care of it. But nobody knows how much ginseng is truly out there.”
    Moreover, the root of the problem lies in its glorification and exorbitant cost. If more people grew the herb, there would be less pressure on the wild populations. Down the line, Beyfuss’ goal is to introduce a wild-simulated ginseng identical to its wild counterpart.
    “My mantra is conservation through cultivation,” Beyfuss said. “If we can grow enough ginseng that meets the demand for wild ginseng, then the monetary gain of venturing into national parks will be greatly reduced.”
    Although Asia will remain the chief ginseng market, Asheville is home to many practicing herbalists. Regardless, one doesn’t have to voyage west to reap the benefits of the plant. Health food stores are known to carry the herb in teas, capsules, candies and energy drinks, according to Davis.
    We've seen so many movies where Kung Fu masters go up against stereotypic drug-running gangsters. I want to see a movie now based on a Kung Fu master breaking up a black market Appalachian ginseng ring.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #26
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    Wi

    It was actually the ginseng angle of this story that caught my attention. I wonder where we are at with this now?


    In this Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump watches as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He speaks to U.S. Trade representative Robert Lighthizer, right, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

    Wisconsin Farmers Await Chinese Trade Deal Details On Ginseng, Pork, More
    'Phase One' Of A Trade Deal Was Announced Dec. 13, But So Far Few Details Are Known
    By Rob Mentzer
    Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2019, 6:20am
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    Wisconsin farmers hope the "phase one" trade deal with China announced this month by President Donald Trump will mean increased exports in 2020.

    But until all the details are out, some are holding off on celebrating an end to the trade war.

    Escalating tariffs between the two nations have hurt exports of a number of Wisconsin-grown products, including pork, dairy products, cranberries and ginseng.

    The Dec. 13 announcement from the two governments of an initial deal helped to lower tensions, but those affected by the tariffs warn that "phase one" could be a long way from a finished deal.

    Will Hsu, president of Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises in Marathon County, analogized the situation to having an offer put in on a house. It marks the beginning of a new phase of negotiations, but can be a far cry from having completed a sale.

    "Without knowing the exact details, it's hard to know whether or not you're actually going to close the deal," Hsu said.

    United States ginseng is grown almost entirely in central Wisconsin, and the majority of the market for it is in China. The skyrocketing tariffs of the last 18 months have hit the industry especially hard, and have sent ginseng prices plunging from nearly $50 per pound of cultivated ginseng to closer to $20 per pound, Hsu said. That's because U.S. growers have to essentially deduct the added cost of Chinese tariffs from their own prices. Chinese consumers won't pay more for the root when Wisconsin ginseng is already a premium product there.

    Wisconsin's ginseng industry accounts for more than $30 million in revenues per year.

    Pork producers are also disproportionately affected by the tariffs. China is the world's largest consumer and importer of pork products.

    But Wisconsin farmers now face a 72 percent tariff on pork sales in China, said Keri Retallick, executive vice president of the Wisconsin Pork Association. That's wiped out their competitive advantage in the export market.

    "We need to do whatever we can to get (Wisconsin) pork back to the Chinese population," Retallick said.

    Wisconsin is the largest U.S. producer of cranberries, which saw a steep decline in exports to China amid high tariffs. The dairy industry was affected, too, though milk prices have recently begun to rise for other reasons related to the global market.

    Farmers of all of these products received some federal aid under a $28 billion federal aid program intended to compensate for losses related to the trade war. But in many cases available aid does not cover the losses, and to many farmers it would be an inferior option even if it did.

    "Our producers would much rather have their markets opened up, and to be able to get their revenues directly from what they've produced and sold on the market," Retallick said.

    Ginseng growers are eligible for federal aid payments under a formula that takes into account acreage and caps payments at $250,000. Hsu said that's too little to be all that significant for large growers, and aid payments haven't covered farmers' losses at virtually any scale.

    "Every single farmer would rather have gotten the market value that we were getting a year or two ago," Hsu said. "I've heard of some guys getting $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000, but their loss is probably three to five times what they're actually getting back from the government."

    The possibility of winding down the trade war was treated as good news by Retallick and Hsu. On Monday, China announced it would lower tariffs on hundreds of goods from other nations, a move understood as a response to domestic economic challenges.

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    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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