Ginseng, Dong quai: growing.

Date: Wed, 25 May 1994 21:41:42 MDT
Sender: "Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: Michael Moore <hrbmoore.EINET.COM>
Subject: Re: Request for info

> I wonder if anyone out there knows anything about cultivating Ginseng and/or Don Quai.

American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is widely cultivated in the U.S. and Canada, in places ranging from NW Georgia to Quebec. Marathon County, Wisconsin, is the hub of the industry. It is not the primary oriental species (P. ginseng) but is accepted throughout the world as being equal or nearly equal to the Asian cultivor. It is also grown in the wild, in cleared (and deer-protected) patches, usually in places where it used to grow: this is termed "Woodsgrown". Although there is still Wild American Ginseng being offered on the market (usually at least $300 a pound), it is hideously depleted from its former native areas. The six large stands I used to know of in the Arkansas Ozarks, as an example, have been reduced to several hundred plants, so widely dispersed that birds don't even bother with their berries anymore, and therefore not likely to propagate again...EVER. Don't buy Wild American Ginseng.

As far as Dong Quai (or Tang Kwei) is concerned, don't even bother. You don't grow Dong Quai, you PREPARE it through curing; the actual Angelicas used in China and Korea are of several cultivated species. Like Korean Red Ginseng, cured Aconite or Rehmannia, Dong Quai is an ARTIFACT, whose chemistry, and physiologic effects are greatly different from the original Angelica root that began the curing process. To my knowledge, there is NO Angelica in Asia or North America that has, without oriental curing, the effects and chemistry of the cured types of Dong Quai. In other words, there aint no way of growing Dong Quai. Its sort of like wanting to cultivate granola.

As far as American Ginseng goes, there are a number of older pamphlets (some put out by the USDA) describing how to cultivate it. Some folks in Montana are even growing it with success.

You might try contacting: GINSENG BUSINESS CENTER, 16H MENARD PLZ WAUSAU, WI 54401, 715-845-7300. The most common method of growing Ginseng is planting the second or third year roots, purchased from a Ginseng nursery.

Michael Moore

Date: Thu, 26 May 1994 18:14:04 MDT
Sender: "Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: Michael Moore <hrbmoore.EINET.COM>
Subject: Re: Ginseng Stuff

>I thought that in the chinese herbal system American Ginseng is used as a "cooling" herb and P. ginseng as a "heat" inducer. Hence the great oriental demand for our American ginseng, because it has different properties.

This is, indeed, the classic differentiation between the two Ginsengs, although it has seemed to be less and less observed in the last decade, particularly from the Shanghei School and in American TCM usage. Myself, I have little practical knowledge of the Oriental models, am a western herbalist, and was referring primarily to the "adaptogen" (hate that word) uses of the Araliaceae in phytopharmacy. If you exclude the Kirin Red Ginseng from China and the Korean Red Ginseng (both substantially altered by curing), and lump Shiu-Chiu Red (cured for consistancy and storage), Chinese and Korean white (uncured) with the American species, there is little actual difference, both in chemistry AND in real people.