New Ginseng! by Lily Kunning

ethics ginseng new products shop news

As you probably know, Boline Apothecary has an ethos that all products must meet in order to be carried in the shop (organic, ethical, pronounceable, effective). This has kept us from having many ginseng products in the shop up until this point.

Why have we not regularly carried Ginseng?
Ginseng is an endangered plant. In order to carry it in bulk or get it to use in our formulas, we had to be sure that it was either cultivated organic (which is hard to do with forest crops like ginseng) or ethically wildcrafted (and I get a TON of calls from wild foragers wanting me to buy their ginseng- and I have told all but one no).

"Take a picture of you holding the roots you want to sell me" I request. This will tell me how old the roots are, based on size. I only want to get three year old roots at a minimum. This gives the plant a chance to establish itself and create babies. I only want to get ginseng (and other endangered plants) from people I know will only take 10-15% of any patch as well. And frankly, when a stranger calls me and wants me to buy their ginseng, how do I get that assurance?

So when a Ginseng grower wanted to chat, I said sure- after all, cultivated Ginseng is more likely to meet my criteria- and if the farmer wants to be around a while, they will do what is best for the plant to propagate itself!

Was I pleased to meet the Burmeister family! They have been cultivating Panax Quinquefolius for 100 years on their Wisconsin farm. With that track record, they have learned a thing or two. They have been able to work with this plant for long enough that they grow enough to supply Herb Pharm, Gaia, and several other large companies. And they have agreed to be our supplier as well.

As a shop, we are starting small- dried cut root for the bulk section and our formulas, "instant" Ginseng tea (it dissolves in water and is as potent as 4 capsules- a double dose!), and their 2 oz. tinctures. Come on down and get some! At the date of this writing bulk cut and sifted Ginseng is $25 per ounce, the tea is $35 per 4 ounce container, and the extract is $18.99 for 2 ounces.

Why is Ginseng so highly prized?
It is a stress reliever and energy enhancer. It's adaptogenic qualities strengthen the adrenals, enhance the metabolism, and normalize body functions. Taking adaptogens help you reduce stresses on the body and its cells and regulate your hormones (all of them, not just reproductive ones). Your endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone regulation is responsible for blood sugar balance, mood, growth rate, blood pressure, immune response, sexual potency and fertility, nutrient absorption and more. If your hormones are out of whack, you become unhealthy pretty quickly- and it has a cascade effect in several systems of the body.

Did you know that the Ginseng that we carry is far more potent than its Asian cousin, and most "American Ginseng" is now imported into China because of that fact? Asian Ginseng contains 2-8% ginsenosides (some of the active constituents sought after in the plant) while Panax Quinquefolius contains 8-14%. And since the Burmeister family harvests 4-5 year old roots (instead of the ethical standard of three), there are more concentrated compounds in their roots.

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