Iowans are harvesting more ginseng, an herb used as a remedy for fatigue. According to state records, last year’s harvest of wild ginseng root topped 15-hundred pounds. A few years ago, the Iowa ginseng harvest was about one-third of that. Cultivated ginseng sells for about 25 dollars per pound, but the wild stuff brings as much as three-hundred dollars per pound. John Pearson of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the state has tracked the ginseng harvest for 15 years. It’s been as high as two-thousand pounds.Don’t be fooled into thinking ginseng is a get-rich-quick kind of crop. Pearson says after planting the ginseng seeds, the first crop is harvested seven years later — and the plant is highly-susceptible to disease.Ginseng is a woodland wildflower that grows about two feet tall.Most ginseng ends up in Hong Kong, where it’s processed. Pearson says ginseng occurs naturally throughout the state, and can be grown in gardens. Some people believe ginseng improves abstract thinking and boosts the body’s resistence to viruses, and others claim ginseng is an aphrodisiac Ginseng can only be harvested in Iowa from September 1st to October 31st.
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