This is an interesting article from Asheville Citizen Times about Black Cohosh & it’s potential for international value as a botanical pharmaceutical.
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.
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.
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!
First and foremost, we live in Bat Cave, North Carolina, which is way too awesome to not use as part of our business name! Our small town is named after the largest known granite ‘fissure’ cave in North America, which, not surprisingly happens to be inhabited by several species of bat, and a few other endangered species.
Second, because I love bats! Bats are amazing creatures who deserve awareness & recognition for the vital role they play in our ecosystem. OK, so maybe also a teeny bit because who doesn’t like a caped crusader fighting against evil doers.
Thirdly, bats have fascinating symbolic meaning in Chinese culture, and since much of my focus with Bat Cave Botanicals includes Traditional Chinese Herbs, it is a little extra cool. In Chinese cultural symbolism, bats are auspicious because the word for ‘bat’ (FU) in Chinese sounds the exact same as the word for luck (FU). They represent longevity & prosperity, and are often depicted in art motifs with deer & ginseng roots, which are three things we always love to see in these parts!