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August 05, 2019

wildcrafting american ginseng Author: Lily Mazarrella

I've been thinking about how sustainability in herbal medicine, and herbal business/industry, in particular, isn't a one time thing. It's not something you "are" or "are not," it's a series of small decisions that you keep making, over and over, whenever the choice presents itself. ⁣

We have had the good fortune to have access to (very expensive) sustainably-grown American ginseng for our custom tinctures and blends until the global appetite for it grew to such a degree that the Canadian ginseng growers broke contract with their buyers to sell to Chinese buyers who offered a price that could not be beat (or turned down). I get it--herb farming is hard work that nobody gets into for the cash and glory. So we're reformulating our blends that have contained American ginseng because the environmental cost of wild harvesting is too great. And I'm so sad to lose this herb: it takes 3 other herbs to begin to recreate what this soft, silky powerhouse can do for wiry, hot, depleted the states. I don't mean to whine here--the earth and the sovereignty of this plant is first priority--but I am bummed from a clinical standpoint. Above all, it leads me to consider my own appetites, how they participate in depletion of resources (sound familiar?). No hard and fast answers here, just more questions, all the time questions.... ⁣

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