Bat Cave Botanicals teams up with Wild Ozark!

12239353_1077345408966729_5526805848529932786_o

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.

This is her Ginseng Page, which includes conservation & resources, her informative articles & her own ginseng books, which are available through her Wild Ozark Shop as well as her Amazon page!

Sign up for her newsletter Wild Ozark Musings!

Shop Wild Ozark!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

AMERICAN GINSENG: 101

AMERICAN GINSENG: 101

Wild American Ginseng is a highly prized & sought after crop in markets around the world. It has been culturally important for it’s value as a medicinal herb for centuries. Wild ginseng is often cherished & appreciated for it’s ‘beauty & wild character’ by those who collect ginseng for consumption or display. Farmed ginseng from the US & Canada is heavily utilized in the worldwide health  industry as a key ingredient.

 

WILD GINSENG

display sm (Copy)

Unlike farmed or ‘cultivated’ roots, wild ginseng grows in rich forest soils often on steep & rocky slopes. In the Southern Appalachians, this rich environment hosts a very unique plant community. Wild ginseng is found along with other rare plants such as maidenhair & rattlesnake ferns, bloodroot, trilliums & goldenseal, along with less ‘friendly’ species like stinging nettles, poison ivy & ferocious briars. This specialized environment causes wild ginseng roots to have a character which reflects these challenging growing conditions.

Wild ginseng roots have certain desirable qualities that ‘farmed’ roots do not possess. Characteristics such as interesting & complex shapes, as well as stress rings & wrinkles create a ‘wild character’ or appearance, which is especially evident with older roots. This results in wild ginseng roots that often possess interesting & bizarre shapes, and sometimes even resembles a human figure. In the wild ginseng market, size is not always the sole indicator of value, as many factors including age, shape, and even ‘beauty’ can contribute to ‘grade and overall price on the international market.

 

FARMED GINSENG

americanginsengroot-300x213

Farmed (or cultivated) roots grow in tilled beds with regular applications of fertilizers &  amendments, that promotes rapid growth and provides resistance to insects and diseases.  This farmed ginseng ‘crop’ is often grown in a very high density artificial environment under shade cloth,  and is harvested after only 4 or 5 years. This results in roots that look like quite different and lack the ‘natural characteristics’ of wild ginseng.  

There is a ‘middle ground’ however; the beginnings of a ‘woods grown’ or ‘naturally cultivated’ movement have become an important factor in the future of ginseng as a species. These parcels of forest land are used to create an important ‘agroforestry’ or ‘non timber agriculture’ income for landowners & families. The importance of this is to help relieve pressure on the wild harvested roots by providing the international market with another option for this desirable commodity. By growing ginseng in an almost wild environment, it can produce a product that looks & tastes very similar to wild ginseng roots.

Farmed roots have become the mainstay of the international ginseng market, with these ginseng farms producing more than 95% of the world’s annual ginseng crop*. Products like energy drinks & health supplements rely heavily on these farmed ginseng roots for ‘bulk ingredient’. These products are crucial to the international ginseng trade & overall market. Both farm grown & wild ginseng provide the US with a very high value commodity crop for the international market.

 

*Ginseng Board of Wisconsin

Ginseng Article that features a Bat Cave Botanicals Man Root!

This turned out to be a really nice article from Laura Moss @ MNN.com…..  Martin & I are glad to have contributed. We think the whole story does a good job representing the position we take when it comes to stewardship, poaching & value of ginseng.

Our “She Root” was featured as an example of one of the most valued types of ginseng root, the scarce & sought after ‘Man Root’.

 

 

RARE Wild Ginseng Root – Man Root or ‘She Root’

DSC_6282  DSC_6269

This is a truly rare wild american ginseng root! The amazing ‘she root’, aka ‘The Madonna’ (the historical one, not the other……) is special because she looks like a mother & child embracing.

Visit her ETSY listing here!

This is a truly amazing ‘man root’! I like to think of her as a ‘she-root’, because she looks like a mother cradling a child. ‘Man Roots’ are very rare & valuable in the ginseng world, and this one even more so because of the obvious feminine character.
This dry root weighs 9 grams, and has 8+ neck scars. Also available in a display case.

This root was featured in a news article by MNN.com. Check out the article here!
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/ginseng-demand-bosts-prices-crime

Selection from the article by LAURA MOSS:

“Ginseng buyers in Asia pay a premium for certain types of roots. Those known as “man roots” — ones with a human shape and what appear to be body parts — can go for thousands of dollars.

ginseng man rootCurrently, one of Jackson’s man roots (pictured right) is listed for sale on Etsy for $7,000.

“The price of ginseng varies from year to year, but the one constant is the demand for wild ginseng roots with potency and character,” she said. “This particular ginseng root is a remarkable example of a ‘man root,’ [which] is quite rare and sought after in the ginseng world.

“An ancient concept called the ‘Doctrine of Signatures’ theorizes that ‘herbs that resemble parts of the body can heal or cure those particular body parts.’ A ginseng root with such a resemblance to mankind makes it very sought after for its highly regarded tonic and curative properties.”

Jackson points out that because this particular root has a feminine character and resembles a woman cradling a child, it’s particularly precious, especially since ginseng is often used as a fertility aid.

However, Jackson’s ginseng may also be considered valuable because of where it comes from.

Some of the most sought-after ginseng is harvested from the hills of the eastern U.S., primarily from North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, where ginseng hunters can find older, more valuable roots. Ginseng from these areas can sell for a few hundred dollars in summer, but by fall when the growing season comes to an end, those prices tend to rise above $1,000.”