Bat Cave Botanicals IndieGogo Campaign

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Check out out new IndieGogo Campaign for Bat Cave Botanicals! We would appreciate it if you shared with anyone who might be interested!

Bat Cave Botanicals is a small business located in Bat Cave, NC. We steward & ethically harvest Wild American Ginseng, and offer these very special roots to customers who demand ethical practices. We also focus on public awareness & ginseng education. We have created this campaign to ask for your help with funding to make Bat Cave Botanicals a self supporting small business that shows the world that it is possible to have a profitable business model based on ethical principals.

We have created this IndieGogo campaign for Bat Cave Botanicals to seek financial help with crucial funds needed to continue & expand our small business, and to further the reach of our educational resources.

Because of the current high market value of ginseng & resulting threat to the wild ginseng population , it is important to us to offer a product that places value on a superior & ethically harvested product, as opposed to the current short sighted over-harvesting of a rare, valuable & endangered botanical resource.

With the assistance of contributors like you, we can achieve a higher level of public awareness & become a profitable self sustaining small business.  By offering superior quality wild american ginseng, we hope to demonstrate to other sellers that ethical harvest techniques are more profitable as well as sustainable. By our success we hope that other sellers will adopt a more respectful  ‘Good Stewardship’ ginseng policy.

We believe in giving back & contributing to the community, so as our small business grows, the more effort we would like to give to public education, outreach & conservation. This is as much a lifestyle as it is ‘a business’ for us.

 

 

How to Age Wild American Ginseng Roots

BCB ~ Ginseng Age Diagram

How to determine the age of an American Ginseng Root

 

There are two widely used methods of determining the age of Wild American Ginseng aka Panax quinquifolius. One method is by counting the leaf prongs (or leaflets) on the live plant at the time of harvest.  This is only used by the harvester to determine if the ginseng plant is legally mature.  This is only a very general method of estimating the the plant’s age. All states require that a plant must have three or more prongs in order to harvest. For more information on the method, please see the official US Fish & Wildlife method & the WildGrown’ Article.

Scar count method

When it comes to dry ginseng roots, the best way to estimate  the minimum age is the ‘scar count method’. This means to count the number of ‘scale scars’ on the rhizome (or neck) of the root. A single ‘bud scar’ is produced every autumn after the yellow plant stem falls to the ground, so for each year the plant produces a top, there is a scar left on the rhizome.

It is a matter of personal preference whether to start at the top of the neck (the stem bud) or the bottom of the neck (the root collar). I find that since ‘bottom to top’ is the way the root grows & develops, it makes sense to me to count it that way too.

These methods are only used to estimate the minimum age of a plant or root. The ‘top’ of the ginseng plant changes from year to year, and may not reflect the size of the root below ground. The ginseng root itself may have a ‘cumulative dormancy’ of many years by the time it is harvested.

Beyond a certain age, it becomes increasingly unlikely that the correct age of the ginseng plant could be morphologically confirmed**

** Anderson, R.C., J.S. Fralish, J.E. Armstrong and P.K. Benjamin. 1993.The ecology and biology of Panax quinquefolium L. (Araliaceae) in Illinois. American Midland Naturalist 129:357-372.


Why is age important?

Ginseng is a very unusual plant in that it really can live to be 50, 80 or even hundreds of years old.* Unlike most other herbaceous perennial plants, most of which have a fairly defined life cycle, the species of Panax (Ginseng) has been known all over the world to reach great lengths of age & longevity. It has been revered for centuries for it’s mysterious ability to stop or reverse aging the folks who are privileged enough to take it. (In the old days, only emperors, government officials & royal physicians could afford it.)

Both traditional beliefs & science say the older the wild ginseng root, the more ‘potent’ it’s active properties. These active ingredients called ‘ginsenosides’ become more concentrated in older roots. These ginsenosides are responsible for the myriad & mysterious health & longevity giving  properties which makes ginseng so renowned. Of these gifts, virility & ‘performance’ are the most publicized attributes in the west, however there are many more far-reaching benefits in the eastern cultures. Like anti aging, mental sharpness, overall vigor, hence the roots popularity with athletes & students alike.

In Chinese Herbal Medicine, there are herbs that help you recover from illnesses, as well as herbs that nourish healthy individuals & promote general wellness. Ginseng is in the unique position of being in both categories.

Consumption or Display

Connoisseurs of wild ginseng consider ‘old’ wild ginseng  to be of the rare & and of the highest value due to it’s rarity. For the purposes of consumption, older wild roots are the pinnacle of the active compounds & benefits, and will impart to the taker the vitality & longevity that the root possesses.

When it comes to collectors who like to display wild ginseng either fresh or dried, collector quality Wild American ginseng is very rare. Especially Wild American ginseng roots in good condition, because the likelihood of an exceptional root reaching the hands of a collector in exceptional condition is fairly slim. Rough handling during the harvesting process & poor techniques used in packing & transporting the roots renders the majority of wild american ginseng roots useless to the collector.

Also because many of these roots are particularly beautiful. Particular shapes like ‘bulby with a long neck’, or man shaped roots are particularly esteemed & high in value.

Wild Ozark Shop

Our good friend Madison Woods has been featuring our Ethically Harvested Wild American Ginseng Roots at her Wild Ozark Shop! She also has a newsletter where you can sign up for updates about our premium ginseng roots for sale. Her shop also features her books, DVDs, ginseng coffee, and other herbal products!

WO Shop Now

More about Madison:

“My name is Madison Woods & I’m an author/photographer/naturalist who lives way off the beaten path in northwest Arkansas with my husband, horses, chickens, cats & dogs. Wild Ozark, LLC is located in the Ozarks between Fayetteville and Harrison, AR. We don’t have a “real-life” storefront, but we have Wild Ozark’s Online Shopwhere you can find our our books, free articles and my ginseng balms and ointments. You can also keep up and more at our FB Wild Ozark page.”

ROOT ANATOMY: WILD GINSENG

Wild Ginseng Root Anatomy

Wild Ginseng Root Anatomy ~ batcavebotanicals.com

Anatomy of a Wild American Ginseng Root

The neck or rhizome is actually an ‘underground stem’, made up of the ‘bud scale scars’ left each year after the yellow top dies back in the fall. The neck is sometimes referred to as ‘the twirl’ because the scars are always 90 degrees opposite from the previous scar, giving it an interesting ‘spiral’ pattern.

The bud is located at the very top of the neck, and will eventually be the part of the plant you see above ground during the growing season.

The scars are also referred to as ‘bud scale scars’. Each one is where the plant grows it’s top and dies back at the end of the season. A single ‘bud scar’ is produced every fall after the yellow plant stem falls to the ground, so for each year the plant produces a top, there is a scar left on the rhizome.

The root collar is where the neck meets the main root. If counting from bottom to top, This should count as year one, when counting the bud scars. Depending on how many bulbs extend from one neck, there may be more than one root collar.

The main root is considered a ‘fleshy taproot’ and operates as the nutrient storage & absorption organ for the ginseng plant. This is the most valued part of the plant for medicinal purposes.

The tail roots & fiber roots are the small roots that branch out from the main root. These serve as support, moisture & feeding roots, and help the entire plant function in it’s often harsh environment.