Herbal KnowledgeOct 10, 2022

5 Interesting Facts About American Ginseng

There are so many reasons why we’re excited to have American Ginseng back in our assortment of herbal allies. In addition to supporting energy and vitality, this herb has a fascinating history in the United States.*

Learn 5 interesting facts that will have you excited to add American Ginseng to your collection.

1. It’s a Native Plant in North America

If you’re familiar with Asian Ginseng, you’d probably assume that humans brought the plant to the Eastern United States, but surprisingly, that’s not the case. In 2019, Smithsonian botanist Dr. Jun Wen confirmed early theories that Asian Ginseng slowly migrated over the Bering Land Bridge and genetically adapted to its new surroundings.1 It became an entirely new species that we call American Ginseng or Panax quinquefolius.

2. Indigenous Americans Used Ginseng

There are records of several Indigenous Americans using American Ginseng, including Cherokee, Iroquois, Creek, Seminole, Delaware, Mohegan, Meskwaki and Menominee native peoples. In the book Ginseng Diggers, author Luke Manget reports the Cherokee referred to Ginseng as the “Great Man.” When hunting Ginseng, they would recite prayers, dig up the root and place a bead in the hole as payment.

3. It Was One of the 1st Commons Commodities

In the 18th century, American Ginseng was what is now referred to as a “commons commodity.” During that time in North America, the concept of private property wasn’t the same as it is now. People could hunt wild game, trap animals for fur or take what they needed from the common grounds to survive. Ginseng was one of the first commons commodities and was sold and traded as early as the 1710s.

4. American Ginseng Had a Boom

Starting in the late 18th century, American Ginseng had a huge boom. Asian Ginseng was (and still is) an incredibly popular herb in China, and when Chinese buyers found out about American Ginseng it became very desirable. By the 1850s, Ginseng surpassed animal skins and furs as the most commonly traded forest product. Factors like a post-Civil War economic depression and growing interest in pharmaceutical manufacturing eventually led to decreased wild American Ginseng populations.

5. It’s Hard to Grow

One of the reasons why Certified Organic American Ginseng is so hard to find is because it is hard to grow. Even in the wild, Ginseng takes several years before it’s ready for harvest. Once it’s harvested, it can’t grow in that spot again. American Ginseng is on the United Plant Savers’ Species At-Risk List and the harvest, sale and export of wild American Ginseng is heavily regulated. Here at Herb Pharm, we only purchase Certified Organic cultivated American Ginseng from North America.

We put in several years of work to find a reputable source for American Ginseng, and we’re so excited to offer it as part of our herbal collection again.

Try it for yourself today and leave a review to let us know how you like it.