Do you want more energy? A way to stabilize your glucose levels?
Then, my friends, it's time to grow some ginseng. Noted for its amazing medicinal components, ginseng is also a staple ingredient in many teas and soups.
And even better? You can grow your own!
Even if you have a thumb that's as far from green as possible, we guarantee if you follow these steps you'll successfully learn how to grow ginseng.
The ultimate reward, of course, is finally being able to use it. Or sell it. Hey, we don't judge.
What Is Ginseng?
Translated from Chinese, "ginseng" (pronounced "JIHN-sing") means "human-shaped root."
It does, indeed, look very much like a weird, human-ish plant. If you're a Harry Potter fan, it will especially remind you of a smaller version of the mandrakes yanked from their soil in the second movie.
There are five major types of ginseng:
In addition to these main types, ginseng can be broken into two categories: white ginseng, which refers to the plant that has been sun-dried, and red ginseng, which is the term for ginseng that has been steamed or heated, turning it red.
History of Ginseng
Ginseng has been used as far back as 100 AD and probably further. In that year, it was documented as a medicine used for sharpening the wits and quieting the mind.
It's popularity grew. In America, it was the earliest marketable herb to be harvested. It was even one of Minnesota's first major imports and was traded for currency by Daniel Boone.
In the past two decades, the root has again resurfaced as more and more Americans demand the root for its health benefits.
In 2001, Americans spent approximately $170 million on the root and its associated products, and the rage hasn't died down. Today, it's still in high demand.
Why Should I Bother?
The better question is why shouldn't you.
First off, the root is hot on the market. In 2014, some predictions indicated the plant could net as much as $1,400 per pound the following year.
And the older it is, the better it sells. In 2007, a 300-year-old ginseng root was sold for $400,000.
Besides the burgeoning value, there are also the many health benefits to consider. Ginseng has been known to do the following:
And that's only some of the potential healing properties.
On top of all these advantages, ginseng is slowly becoming endangered as poachers seek to make a profit from it. Many Asian species are severely threatened or extinct.
In 1975, the US Fish and Wildlife Service regulated the trading of American ginseng, hoping to discourage its extinction.
That means its value is going to continue rising and that you'll also be helping it to avoid going extinct entirely.
Finally, there's the advantage of using it in tea and soups. Yum!
And, plus, it's really just fun to say. "Ginseng." Don't you want to say it aloud?
How to Grow Ginseng
Growing ginseng takes patience. We'll walk you through the steps to grow your own American ginseng.
1. Check Your State Laws
Before you do anything, check your state laws to ensure you can legally grow ginseng for yourself. If you wish to sell it, you will need a license or permit.
2. Decide on a Location
Ginseng is picky about where it grows. It can't tolerate extreme heat, and it grows best in mountainous locations.
Wild ginseng enjoys shade and moisture, although the areas should be well drained. Gentle slopes that receive only morning light and deep shade the rest of the day are ideal.
In the states, it is said to grow especially well in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other northeastern areas.
3. Check the Soil
It's true you don't need a green thumb to grow it, but that doesn't mean ginseng will make it easy for you.
It loves moderately acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0. Avoid areas that are high in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Remove any rocks from the planting area and ensure there is adequate runoff to avoid built-up water. If possible, use soil that is an equal ratio of fiber-free woodland soil and regular soil.
Till the area about 8 to 10 inches deep (or a foot, if you plan to plant roots instead of seeds).
4. Plant the Seeds
While seeds take longer to harvest, beginning your crop from seed has the advantage of avoiding any soil-born diseases. However, roots can certainly be used instead.
After you acquire your seeds, plant them at a depth of about 1/8 to 1/2 inch deep with 4 inches apart from one another. Rows should be at least 6 inches apart.
Cover the seeds with 3 inches of straw. The best time to plant ginseng is in the fall. Cover the seeds with 5 inches of mulch until spring.
Experts disagree about what fertilization method is best for ginseng, but most growers fertilize however they would for any other crop. That means it's completely up to you.
You can use manure to stimulate growth or simply utilize seeds and sawdust. Fertilize the seeds at least a few weeks before spring, when they are still dormant.
Protect the area from diseases and insects through chemical use, good drainage and hand weeding.
It's perfectly acceptable to use pesticides and other chemicals to lessen the chances of injury to the seeds.
Now you repeat the previous steps (minus the planting, of course) for several years. In the meantime, you'll need patience. Lots and lots of patience.
It can take years for a plant to mature. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least three years, but it's not uncommon to wait up to 10.
At long last, the time has arrived! Harvest your plant in the fall by digging it carefully out of the earth. Wash the roots. You have successfully nurtured a ginseng to harvest!
Years of Work
Yes. Learning how to grow ginseng takes a lot of work, and waiting for the herb to mature is a long wait. I promise you it will be worth t but if nurturing, pestering and waiting for the plant to mature is not your thing but you'd like to enjoy its health benefits, look no further.
Purchase authentic Korean Panax ginseng today and get in on the hype. No waiting just pure health benefits from the original source of Korean ginseng.