Underused medicine: ginseng leaf.
You can use the aboveground parts of many (not all) root herbs for the same purpose as the root. The tradition of using only the roots of these plants has its roots (heh) in the old herb trade, where crude herb was kept in burlap bags in warehouses for years on end; leaf cannot take that kind of treatment, root can.
The leaf of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is as good as the root. It's also much cheaper, but next to nobody sells it because next to nobody knows about it.
So if you grow ginseng: pick the leaf, too, and make it into a tasty tea or tincture. Yum! The taste is a lot like licorice, and it's as strengthening to adrenals and as good for the general stress response (= as good an adaptogen) as the root is.
I know of only one outfit that sells ginseng leaf: Blessed herbs, in the USA. From their catalogue:
Ginseng Leaf, wildcrafted, Panax quinquefolius: 1-4 lbs 30.25 $/lb
Ginseng Root Whole, Panax quinquefolius:
- American Wild, Premium, wildcrafted: 1-4 lbs 825.00 $/lb
- American Wild, Average, wildcrafted: 1-4 lbs 770.00$/lb
- American Wild, Woodsgrown, organically grown: 1-4 lbs 163.35 $/lb
... see? There's an enormous difference in price. Get the herb, not the root. It's cheap enough that you actually get ginseng, not an adulterant. Which is why Blessed herbs sells whole root, of course: so you can be sure to get the real thing. It's almost certain that any ginseng products at your local health food store have never even seen ginseng... real ginseng, be it American or Chinese (Panax ginseng), is simply so expensive that adulterant rot creeps in, somewhere along the line, in almost all cases.
Of course, there is a lot of cheating in the "organically" grown woodsgrown ginseng, as well. You hear horror stories where they grow ginseng with all the needed *cides and other poisons for 3 years (ginseng is very prone to fungi and other trouble when grown in fields under shade cloth), then dig the lot up and replant it in forest, only to dig it up again a year or two later, selling that as organically woodsgrown... I have no idea how well Blessed herbs checks their growers' plantations, sorry.
And of course, the price of wild American ginseng is so high because it's under pressure in the wild. Better to get organically grown - you'll just have to find a grower/trader that you can trust.
Blessed herbs also have Korean Ginseng Powder, Panax ginseng, at 49.50 $/lb for 1-4 lbs - but I'd stay away from all and any ginseng powders. These, too, are too often adulterated, and of course, with powders, it's bottom-of-the-barrel stuff that gets ground up, not premium root.
If you know of another outfit that sells ginseng leaf, please let me know. I'd prefer to buy from a bulk herb house that hasn't jumped onto the parasite cleansing bandwagon; and I'd prefer to buy ginseng leaf from organically grown ginseng, not from wildcrafted herb.