. I feel like, having read an entire book about ginseng, my understanding of it is roughly the same as it was before: the Chinese value the root for its medicinal properties, although Wes This book could have used a lot more editing, and a more organized structure, but the truth is that the story of ginseng itself really lacks in drama. They were also there to buy American ginseng roots at an incredibly high price, as it turned out. A camera crew wearing baseball caps with the gold National Geographic logo was filming an interview with a young Korean-American couple who had driven three hours from Long Island. The tea section has its own universe of ginseng items, from Yogi Tea to American Ginzing herbal tea.
There have been houses that have burned down where the most grieved loss was an old ginseng root in a glass case. And while that signature might seem meaningless hidden in the forest, it will gain significance later. It was not until the Seventies, more than 250 years after Lafitau identified the plant that ginseng started to become widely known in the United States. Oak and walnut trees are easily recognizable, lording over the forest like statuesque movie stars. George had made a domesticated plant look wild, and got a better price for it. Even industry stalwart Lipton sells yellow boxes of Lemon Ginseng tea bags.
Since boyhood, ginseng had given him a way to look at his forest with a sense of magic and purpose. Got me a alimony payment due. Its slender stem rose about six inches above the ground and branched into four smaller ones, each with a cluster of five arrow-shaped leaves. It began invading New Age consciousness and health food stores around the time of Woodstock. In the dietary supplement section, shelves and shelves are devoted to ginseng capsules and tinctures of all kinds, often packaged with images of white-haired Asian philosophers or powerful dragons. Wild Asian ginseng Panax ginseng is found only in northeastern China, Korea, and parts of Siberia. It's rumored to increase energy, reduce stress, lower cholesterol, and increase male sexual capacity.
How do you translate vital energy? It has made and broken the fortunes of many and has inspired a subculture in rural America unrivaled by any herb in the plant kingdom. But ginseng is a shy creature. The story is perhaps most interesting when Taylor joins diggers in the 'hunt' for the root in Appalachia. There are three types of ginseng in descending order of value : wild, wild simulated, and cultivated. Inside, a bearded man spoke above the noise of the bagpiper and the bucking tent flaps.
He looked like this wild Jack Nicholson character, one said, moving closer so he could heckle the speaker. What is more certain is that its relative scarcity these days only adds to the challenge of finding it, and no doubt, to its market value. A freight train echoed in the morning air, a reminder that we were in coal country, but soon we were surrounded by Appalachian deciduous forest, bright green after weeks of rain. Then Joseph-François Lafitau, a Jesuit working in Quebec, discovered a root in the wilds of Canada that bore a remarkable resemblance to the drawings of this newly fashionable herb. Readers who are not utter ginseng devotees might find the middle section of Ginseng a little slow, but most of us will be swept through anyway by Taylor's enthusiasm.
An amazing cast of characters is met up and down the Appalachians that have some interest in ginseng. Ginseng has something of a forgotten history, which began when Jesuit missionaries made the discovery that American ginseng was nearly identical to the Asian ginseng so treasured in China. For ginseng-flavored honey, place a whole, washed root in a honey jar. In Hong Kong, a street crammed with traditional medicine shops sells wooden bins full of the root, while high above on the steep hillside in a shiny university lab, scientists track its chemical fingerprints. It is now being studied by medical researchers for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease. Its abundance and value helped thousands of poor families make a living, people whom The New York Times derided as shiftless, roving people, wholly incapable of keeping up with the march of modern progress.
Even industry stalwart Lipton sells yellow boxes of Lemon Ginseng tea bags. Wisconsin is also the leading exporter. Prized for its legendary curative powers, ginseng launched the rise to power of China's last great dynasty; inspired battles between France and England; and sparked a boom in Minnesota comparable to the California Gold Rush. American ginseng found a ready market in Asia and has been exporting ever since. The two most common ways to prepare ginseng are as chewable root slices or as tea.
He does not cook with the root in his own restaurant, and is surprisingly, unaware of American ginseng. Yes, dear readers, ginseng digging goes back to the colonial days. After we walked a distance under the forest canopy, he stopped and bent down low. These plants are collected mostly from the wild and move through the world on informal pathways, unchecked by customs agents or health regulations. By fall, its leaves turn a pale yellow before the plant seems to disappear altogether. Through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the plant held an honored place in American life, commerce, foreign relations, and medicine, and reflected attitudes that can be hard for many today to fathom.