Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My New Book on Ginseng and Goldenseal is Hot Off the Press!

Growing and Marketing Ginseng Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals book
I got so excited when two copies of my new book arrived this morning that I took my first "'selfie" (ever) and just had to share. This has been a long time coming and represents hundreds of hours interviewing, writing, revising, and editing. Writing a book is a labor of love and its almost like holding a new baby when you finally get to pick it up, smell it, and flip through the pages. It is not yet available in stores, so you can still preorder it through the publisher, your local bookstore, or the "big guys" (Amazon and Walmart).

Here's a little about it:

The sudden popularity in wild-harvesting ginseng has increased interest in how to find, grow, and profit from native woodland botanicals. Whereas widespread harvesting of these native plants from our forests can threaten their very existence, the authors of this book promote conservation through cultivation. While there is a great deal of material available -- both in print and on the internet -- that discusses growing ginseng and other woodland botanicals, almost none of it forthrightly assesses profitability and the challenges that may be encountered trying to produce and sell these plants. Forest landowners, if they follow this book and use patience and common sense, can grow many of these native medicinals profitably while preserving and even enhancing their woodlands.

Aspiring herb growers are often attracted first to American ginseng, because it is the most valuable medicinal botanical and because it has a broad, well-established market, which has persisted for over 275 years. Indeed, in the southern part of its range, ginseng has long been referred to as “green gold.” The first half of this book is devoted entirely to this one native plant. An individual can cultivate a forest garden of this fascinating and subtle herb just for his (or her) own consumption, but ginseng also has great potential as a small-scale cash crop with a ready market. With little capital investment, the small farmer can net a greater profit growing ginseng on a rugged, otherwise idle, woodlot than he can net raising just about any other legal crop on an equal area of cleared land. Of course, you have to be willing to take a risk, bend your back, get your hands dirty and  persevere when the payoff is years in the future.

The second half of this book provides practical guidance in the production and marketing of other native woodland herbs that also have the potential to yield “green gold.” Goldenseal and ramps are covered at length and in detail, because their economic potential is well established and reliable information on their propagation is available.  Black cohosh, bloodroot, and ten other lesser known native botanicals are discussed as thoroughly as present knowledge allows, with emphasis on their potential and their uncertainties. Plant botany and usage and present market conditions are addressed in detail. Personal stories of successful growers, extensive references and resources, including a unique Disease List, enhance this book. 

And new to this edition is a section just for home gardeners, information on wild-harvesting, and rules and regulations pertaining to the buying and selling of these plants. It is hoped that this book will help the herb grower to diversify and enjoy a greater variety of woodland medicinal herbs and/or to reduce risk and increase long-term profit potential.

Jeanine Davis is an associate professor and extension specialist with NC State University. Her focus is helping farmers diversify into medicinal herbs, new crops and organic agriculture.

W. Scott Persons is the author of American Ginseng: Green Gold and an expert in growing and marketing wild-simulated and woods-cultivated ginseng.

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