AHPA and the USDA compile eight years of data on wild American ginseng harvest.
Despite its harvest for more than 300 years, wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) was never backed by any strong economic data-until now.
Using state-reported ginseng harvest records from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the USDA and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD) have estimated the economic size and impact of wild American ginseng harvest across 19 U.S. states. Considering the data, the two groups now believe that the wild American ginseng market is valued at $27 million per year.
Because American ginseng grows in hardwood forests, USDA and AHPA also weighed the ginseng market alongside that of timber. They found that as timber production increases, so too does ginseng.
“The volume of ginseng root harvested from natural forests represents substantial extraction of biomass, and the associated value represents substantial income for people living in an economically marginalized region,” wrote the authors of the study, which is now published in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry. “Co-management of eastern hardwood forests for timber and non-timber forest products could improve local economies and better conserve the biodiversity of these forests.”
The report maps out the spatial distribution of ginseng harvests in each U.S. state, along with a state-by-state breakdown of wild ginseng production. Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia control roughly half of the market.
The ginseng market report was made possible with financial support from the American Herbal Products Association Foundation on Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB). To donate and learn more about ongoing AHPA-ERB projects, visit the AHPA-ERB website.