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Weird Stuff/Unexplained
See other Weird Stuff/Unexplained Articles

Title: Illinois ginseng harvest begins
Source: Belleville News-Democrat
URL Source: http://www.belleville.com/mld/belleville/news/state/15426847.htm
Published: Sep 2, 2006
Author: Associated Press
Post Date: 2006-09-02 14:48:04 by Willie Green
Keywords: ginseng, puberty, herbalremedies
Views: 3503
Comments: 1

For education and discussion only. Not for commercial use.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Call it a yearly Illinois harvest that gets to the root of persistence.

Starting Saturday and pressing through Nov. 1, thousands of people will converge on the state's forested regions in search of ginseng roots.

This year's harvest comes amid relaxed federal rules and a seeming resurgence of the ancient folk remedy, with the dried root commonly added to beer and energy drinks - even touted as a possible cancer-fighter.

State figures suggest about 2,000 people sign up each year to harvest the root, which grows wild in every county statewide. Last year, 1,200 pounds of the stuff was harvested in the Land of Lincoln. Each of the two years before that, people reaped more than a ton of ginseng.

Harvesters sell the roots to about 30 state-licensed dealers. Much of it goes to Asian markets, where ginseng is prized as everything from an aphrodisiac to an energy booster. Depending on the plant's grade, ginseng can fetch $12 to $300 a pound.

Officials blame last year's lackluster harvest on the fact that many of the roots' distinctive golden leaves and red berries dropped off before harvesting season began.

"It made it really hard to see the plants," said Una M. French, owner of Windy Pines Natural Herb Farm in the Jefferson County community of Dix.

Leon Johnson, a ginseng dealer in the tiny Wayne County town of Keenes, said federal rules imposed last year only allowed people to pick roots at least 10 years old, complicating matters.

Federal regulators relaxed the 10-year limit earlier this year, but the change came too late for Illinois to alter its rule.

The state won't be able to lower the age limit until next year's season, though most hunters won't get fines for picking roots that are too young, said Brian Clark of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' permits and license division.

"Obviously, our officers will use their discretion," he said.

Illinois is the only state that will follow the 10-year limit this year, said Patricia Ford, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service botanist.

Still, Johnson says this year's harvest likely will be another small one, given this summer's hot and dry weather in the southeast and south central areas of the state.

In Illinois the top ginseng-producing counties include Cumberland, Clark, Effingham and Fayette. Clark said.

How are you supposed to know how OLD the blasted ginseng root is?

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#1. To: Willie Green (#0)

How are you supposed to know how OLD the blasted ginseng root is?

I grow my own. I'm trying to re-introduce it to Southwest Missouri so I don't harvest the stuff, and naturally don't pay attention to Fed regulations...

If the bulls dont kill me, Dont put me six feet down,

I'll be last man standin on top of the hill,

If the bulls dont kill me then nothin will,---PBR-AllStars Buck@Roll

continental op  posted on  2006-09-02   22:09:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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