The Mission of Wild Ginseng Conservation:

A four-prong ginseng plant

This website is designed to provide state-of-the-art scientific information to the public and to policymakers for the purpose of conserving American ginseng for the long-term. As an economically, culturally, ecologically, and medicinally important native plant species, everyone should have the best interests of ginseng conservation in mind. However, in a rapidly changing world, both direct and indirect effects of our species on valuable native plants such as ginseng often threaten their persistence. By raising awareness of these effects, and by emphasizing that ginseng is just one of thousands of special plants that experience these effects, we hope in some small way to help steer society toward a more sustainable relationship with nature.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) is an understory plant found in the eastern deciduous forest of the United States. Ginseng has long been valued for its medicinal qualities, particularly by Asian cultures, which have integrated American ginseng into their traditional medicinal practices as a complement to their native Asian ginseng species. In this way, ginseng shares a part of early American history, being exported to Asia in the 1700s. Ginseng harvest continues today as a tradition particularly practiced in the Appalachian region, where the sale of ginseng still supplements household incomes, and links people to the land. Ecologists began studying ginseng partly because of its value as a wild-harvested species and its decrease in abundance after many decades of harvest. Now, however, after many years of ongoing research, ginseng has become an important model species – a sensitive indicator of the effects of contemporary global and regional environmental change for plants in the eastern deciduous forest.