This is an interesting article from Asheville Citizen Times about Black Cohosh & it’s potential for international value as a botanical pharmaceutical.
Bat Cave Botanicals is now offering Ethically Harvested, Fresh Wild American Ginseng! The way we do this is by pre-selling custom small batch quantities of very quality fresh wild ginseng roots. Once the order is placed, we carefully hand harvest the largest roots from a healthy wild ginseng population, in accordance with ethical harvest guidelines as well as our own stewardship standards. This allows us to offer the best quality product without ‘over-consuming’ a precious limited resource.
Bat Cave Botanicals complies with all Federal & North Carolina regulations concerning the harvest, certification & sale of Wild American Ginseng.
It might be argued that certain areas of the southern Appalachian mountains, could meet the qualifications of a temperate rain forest. Rainfall, canopy cover, and a few other aspects make some of the more densely forested portions of WNC an interesting place for mushrooms!
In the Spring, if you get very lucky, you might find some morels if you look really hard, but few things equal the sight of the ground ‘on fire’ with gorgeous golden orange ‘fragrant chanterelles’. After a moist summer with almost daily rainfall, these beauties can be quite prolific, although they are totally & utterly wild, and must be foraged & wild crafted. Lucky for us they have a relationship with the roots of certain hardwood trees, and come back in the same place year after year.
When it comes to collecting any wild mushroom for eating, making an absolutely positive ID is crucial. Once an ID is 100% positive, it still doesn’t stop there, because when it comes to large patches of mushrooms, you have to check each & every one as you harvest them to make sure that you you don’t accidentally mix in a look alike, which often tend to grow in the same areas.
Once you get past all the necessary mushroom disclaimers, positive IDs, & correct harvesting procedures, it is time to clean them & cook them, and in this particular case, the taste even better then they look!
For more info on “Fragrant Chanterelles (Craterellus odoratus)” check out these links below!
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.
Bat Cave Botanicals is now offering special savings for Wild American Ginseng by the Ounce & Half ounce
Each root is Inspected & Certified to be 100% Wild American Ginseng from North Carolina. We ethically harvest our ginseng roots, and believe in protecting the ginseng population & the future of wild Ginseng by carefully replanting the berries & practicing sustainable collection.
Bat Cave Botanicals provides some of the very best Wild American Ginseng Roots in the US! Our roots are carefully hand harvested & hung to dry to ensure top quality as well as maximum potency!
SHOP GINSENG or see our GINSENG SALE !
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!
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.”
Ginseng holds a lot of value and meaning for many cultures. It is very popular as a gift for family & loved ones, and has so many uses.
Many people eat Ginseng roots for their health & wellness value, but with special roots it is often displayed for its beauty. Especially in Asia, old, wild and large roots are appreciated for their form & beauty, and especially the rare man shaped roots.
Particular roots that are rare & valuable, or roots that have a special meaning can be displayed in a couple of of ways. I have seen some very nice examples of dry displays, and liquid displays.
Dry Roots on Display
Some dried roots are preserved in glass top cases for viewing, and sometimes are sewn to fabric on a board. This is a lovely way to display roots if they are properly handled & processed.
This is usually done by cleaning fresh roots and submerging them in alcohol. There seem to be a few different methods for this, but anything from pure grain alcohol or strong wine should have enough alcohol to preserve the roots in a sterile environment.
Roots that are preserved in strong wine will look fresh, even though the alcohol dehydrates the roots & replaces the water.
Roots that are placed in pure alcohol will eventually create a ‘tincture’ similar to what herbalists make for medicine. With ‘fleshy’ roots especially it is important to use a very strong proof.
This is list of excellent resources about Ginseng in general. This list will be growing all the time, so check back for more updates!
~Ginseng Laws & Regulations~
~Ginseng Conservation & Research~
Martin & I are pleased to announce that we have teamed up with our friend Madison Woods from Wild Ozark! Madison is offering her customers & subscribers some of our very best ethically harvested Wild American Ginseng.
This is a special opportunity for her customers to have access to this rare plant that was sustainably harvested from one of the last places in the world where Wild Ginseng still grows in some abundance. Our roots are handled with the utmost care & respect for the plant & it’s value. Nearly all of the 2015 Ginseng harvest has now been exported to the Asian market, and Madison is offering her customers some of the last high quality wild ginseng roots available in the US.
We share her interest & passion for ethical harvesting, stewardship & education. We are so pleased to be partnering with her and look forward to working with her in the future!
Madison is an author, speaker & herbalist homesteader based in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. She uses her skills & passion for nature to help people reconnect with the natural world. Much of her writings include education about Wild American Ginseng, companion plants, where to find it, and how to grow it.
Sign up for her newsletter Wild Ozark Musings!