27 August 2012

Guard your ginseng carefully

The English word ginseng derives from the Chinese term rénshēn... Rén means "man" and shēn means a kind of herb; this refers to the root's characteristic forked shape, which resembles the legs of a man
There are malefactors who will steal it from your woods:
The theft and destruction of valuable wild ginseng growing in Wisconsin has alarmed wardens in the Department of Natural Resources to the point that a warning was issued last week for landowners and others to be on the lookout.

The motive is money, and grabbing the slow-growing plants now before the ginseng season opens on Sept. 1.

Ginseng, which sold for $200 per pound last year, could rise to $500 per pound this year, the DNR said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, ginseng has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural energy booster. A recent study showed the herb relieved fatigue in cancer patients. Animal studies also show ginseng helps with inflammation.
The DNR is reminding ginseng harvesters that they need a license (cost is $15.75) and permission from the landowner. Also, harvesters must immediately bury the plant’s berries to ensure the plant grows back.
Another reason it is so expensive:
One study in laboratory animals showed possible effects of ginseng or its ginsenoside components on the central nervous system and gonadal tissues and another on penile erection. Ginseng is known to contain phytoestrogens and may affect the pituitary gland to increase the secretion of gonadotropins. Other mice studies found effects on sperm production and the estrus cycle.

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