2006 Update: No trips to our woods this year. A very large pack of wild dogs are roaming the area. Their presence has made it unsafe at this time to be in the woods. Cattle losses and human encounters have occurred. Ginseng season is on hold for now.


Sept Update: Others parts of the mountain are safe to sang. Our neighbor shared a glimpse of some of his find this year.

 To most people Ginseng is something you read about on a label in a health food store or a pharmacy. We've all seen the ads that marvel at the properties of the substance derived from the root of the Ginseng plant. A wide range of medicinal and aphrodisiac properties have long made this root in great demand here and abroad. Modern medicine has yet to verify the claims that folk lore has made about Ginseng. No matter, the claims continue.

 American Ginseng

American Ginseng

Here in the rich, deep woods of southern WV, Ginseng grows wild. Ginseng season begins in the middle of August, after the berries have matured. The timing is such to insure a continued replenishing of the plants. American Ginseng is listed as a threatened species in 31 states due to over harvesting.
Digging the Ginseng root can be a profitable venture - the dried root sells for between $200 to 400 per pound (price varies from year to year). It takes a lot of digging to get a pound of the dried root.
In this area, locals during leaner times used to dig "Seng" to buy the kids shoes and warm coats for school. Today a lot of avid hunters dig the root to buy new hunting gear.

I knew a man who used to dig right here on our farm every year. The money he made from digging he would donate to his church. Finding the Ginseng plant can be a challenge. It takes practice, patience, and a keen eye. The plant likes to grow in out of the way places. Often, it's found amid look-a-like foliage. Both the American and Dwarf varieties grow here.



Dwarf Ginseng

 Digging for "Seng" can be a great way to get out and enjoy the woods. All you need is the time and a digging tool. I prefer a common garden weeding tool. Some folks use a long screwdriver. The roots are not deep and usually are found in rich, soft soil. Sometimes you have to dig under rocks, tree roots, or downed trees.

Becky admiring her find




Good looking Ginseng roots





Last Updated 19 Sept 2006

© 2001-2006 T.K.Ash