|Looking for Ginseng|
Wild ginseng has a reputation for a variety of medical uses. The market and price tag really comes from the folklore around the plant. In China and Korea it is believed that wild ginseng absorbs the spirits of the forest as it grows. After absorbing the magic of the wild, its medicinal power can treat anything. The Ranger in the resource division explained how the folklore is so ingrained, people in these countries are willing to pay anything for the root when elders fall ill.
Many Appalachian people have harvested ginseng roots for supplemental income. They typically wear gloves or knee pads and have a screw driver or walking stick with a metal rod attached to the bottom of it. Another inclination of someone digging is that their knees and underneath their fingernails will be very dirty. I was informed that so many have harvested wild ginseng, it has reached a point near extinction. Within the countries that import the root, the wild plant has already reached extinction. That is why protecting the plant on federal land is so important. At Mammoth Cave, the surveyed plants have been dug up and marked with a colored metallic powder (see picture below). If that powder is seen by any buyer either by eyesight or under black light, they are to report it. Each park or federal land has a unique chemical composition of powder to rub on the root of a ginseng plant. In theory, the powder aids in ginseng determent and monitoring where the plant is poached. However, it is a tall order to monitor and protect ginseng along with all other duties. It definitely has a better chance of being accomplished when it is made a goal across divisions.
|Korean Ginseng Root|
|MACA Ginseng Powder|