Ginseng Hungry Deer Eating Appalachian Tradition

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 14, 2005   View Article

Since the 18th century, industrious folk in Appalachia have energized their bank accounts through the harvest and sale of wild American ginseng. Today, the increasing number of local white-tailed deer is putting future American ginseng harvests in doubt.

Wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is one of the most widely harvested medicinal plants in the United States. When consumed by humans, it is thought to boost energy and increase concentration. It is especially popular in Asia, where a pound (half a kilogram) can fetch as much as U.S. $500.

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