GINSENG AND OTHERMEDICINAL PLANTSA Book of Valuable Information forGrowers as Well as Collectorsof Medicinal Roots, Barks,Leaves, Etc.
A. R. HARDING
(Revised Edition.)PUBLISHED BYA. R. H ARDINGCOLUMBUS, OHIOGinseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 1
Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 2
I. Plants as a Source of Revenue
II. List of Plants Having Medicinal Value
III. Cultivation of Wild Plants
IV. The Story of Ginseng
V. Ginseng Habits
VII. Shading and Blight
VIII. Diseases of Ginseng
IX. Marketing and Prices
X. Letters from Growers
XI. General Information
XII. Medicinal Qualities
XIII. Ginseng in China
XIV. Ginseng- Government Description, Etc.
XV. Michigan Mint Farm
XVI. Miscellaneous Information
XVII. Golden Seal Cultivation
XVIII. Golden Seal History, Etc
XIX. Growers' Letters
XX. Golden Seal-Government Description, Etc.
XXI. Cohosh-Black and Blue
XXII. Snakeroot- Canada and Virginia
XXV. Seneca Snakeroot
XXVI. Lady's Slipper
XXVII. Forest Roots
XXVIII. Forest Plants
XXIX. Thicket Plants
XXX. Swamp Plants
XXXI. Field Plants
XXXII. Dry Soil Plants
XXXIII. Rich Soil Plants
XXXIV. Medicinal Herbs
XXXV. Medicinal ShrubsGinseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 3
WHEN the price of Ginseng advanced some years ago hundreds
engaged in the business who knew little or nothing of farming, plant
raising and horticulture. That they largely failed is not to be wondered
at. Later many began in a small way and succeeded. Many of these
were farmers and gardeners. Others were men who had hunted,
trapped and gathered “seng”from boyhood. They therefore knew
something of the peculiarities of Ginseng.
It is from the experience of these men that this work is largely made up
writings of those who are in the business.
This edition is more complete than the first, being increased from 317 to
367 pages. The chapters on Ginseng and Golden Seal have been revised
by C. M. Goodspeed, Editor and Publisher of Special Crops, as well as
grower of medicinal roots for many, many years.
Golden seal is also attracting considerable attention owing to the rapid
increase in price during the early years of the present century. The
growing of this plant is given careful attention also.
Many other plants are destined to soon become valuable. A work gotten
out by the government—American root drugs—contains a great deal of
value in regard to habits, range, description, common names, price,
uses, etc., etc., so that some of the information contained in this book is
taken therefrom. The prices named in the government bulletin which
was issued in 1907 were those prevailing at that time—they will vary,
in the future, largely according to the supply and demand.
The greatest revenue derived from plants for medicinal purposes is
derived from the roots, yet there are certain ones where the leaves and
bark are used. Therefore to be complete some space is given to these
plants. The digging of the roots, of course, destroys the plant as well as
does the peeling of the bark, while leaves secured is clear gain—in other
words, if gathered when matured the plant or shrub is not injured and
will produce leaves each year.
The amount of root drugs used for medicinal purposes will increase as
the medical profession is using of them more and more. Again the
number of people in the world is rapidly increasing while the forests Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 4
(the natural home of root drugs) are becoming less each year. This
shows the growers of medicinal roots will find a larger market in the
future than in the past.
Those who know something of medicinal plants—“Root Drugs”—can
safety embark in their cultivation, for while prices may ease off—go
lower—at times, it is reasonably certain that the general trend will be
upward as the supply growing wild is rapidly becoming less each year.
A. R. HARDING. (1912, revised 1936)Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 5
CHAPTER I.PLANTS AS A SOURCE OF REVENUE.
With the single exception of ginseng, the hundred of plants whose roots
are used for medical purposes, America is the main market and user.
Ginseng is used mainly by the Chinese. The thickly inhabited Chinese
Empire is where the American ginseng is principally used. To what uses
it is put may be briefly stated, as a superstitious beverage. The roots
with certain shapes are carried about the person for charms. The roots
resembling the human form being the most valuable.
The most valuable drugs which grow in America are ginseng and
golden seal, but there are hundreds of others as well whose leaves,
barks, seeds, flowers, etc., have a market value and which could be
cultivated or gathered with profit In this connection an article which
appeared in the Hunter-Trader-Trapper, Columbus, Ohio, under the
title which heads this chapter is given in full:
To many unacquainted with the nature of the various wild plants which
surround them in farm and out-o'-door life, it will be a revelation to
learn that the world's supply of crude, botanical (vegetable) drugs are to
a large extent gotten from this class of material. There are more than
one thousand different kinds in use which are indigenous or
naturalized in the United States. Some of these are very valuable and
have, since their medicinal properties were discovered, come into use in
all parts of the world; others now collected in this country have been
brought here and, much like the English sparrow, become in their
propagation a nuisance and pest wherever found.
The impression prevails among many that the work of collecting the
proper kind, curing and preparing for the market is an occupation to be
undertaken only by those having experience and a wide knowledge of
their species, uses, etc. It is a fact, though, that everyone, however little
he may know of the medicinal value of such things, may easily become
familiar enough with this business to successfully collect and prepare for
the market many different kinds from the start.
There are very large firms throughout the country whose sole business
is for this line of merchandise, and who are at all times anxious to make
contracts with parties in the country who will give the work business-Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 6
like attention, such as would attend the production of other farm
articles, and which is so necessary to the success of the work.
If one could visit the buyers of such firms and ask how reliable they
have found their sources of supply for the various kinds required, it
would provoke much laughter. It is quite true that not more than one in
one hundred who write these firms to get an order for some one or more
kinds they might supply, ever give it sufficient attention to enable a
first shipment to be made. Repeated experiences of this kind have made
the average buyer very promptly commit to the nearest waste basket all
letters received from those who have not been doing this work in the
past, recognizing the utter waste of time in corresponding with those
who so far have shown no interest in the work.
The time is ripe for those who are willing to take up this work, seriously
giving some time and brains to solving the comparatively easy problems
of doing this work at a small cost of time and money and successfully
compete for this business, which in many cases is forced to draw
supplies from Europe, South America, Africa, and all parts of the world.
From the writer's observation, more of these goods are not collected in
this country on account of the false ideas those investigating it have of
the amount of money to be made from the work, than from any other
reason; they are led to believe that untold wealth lies easily within their
reach, requiring only a small effort on their part to obtain it. Many cases
may be cited of ones who have laboriously collected, possibly 50 to 100
pounds of an article, and when it was discovered that from one to two
dollars per pound was not immediately forthcoming, pronounced the
dealer a thief and never again considered the work.
In these days when all crude materials are being bought, manufactured
and sold on the closest margins of profit possible, the crude drug
business has not escaped, it is therefore only possible to make a
reasonable profit in marketing the products of the now useless weeds
which confront the farmer as a serious problem at every turn. To the
one putting thought, economy and perseverance in this work, will come
profit which is now merely thrown away.
Many herbs, leaves, barks, seeds, roots, berries and flowers are bought
in very large quantities, it being the custom of the larger houses to
merely place an order with the collector for all he can collect, without
restriction. For example, the barks used from the sassafras roots, from Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 7
the wild cherry tree, white pine tree, elm tree, tansy herb, jimson weed,
etc., run into the hundreds of thousand pounds annually, forming very
often the basis of many remedies you buy from your druggist.
The idea prevalent with many, who have at any time considered this
occupation, that it is necessary to be familiar with the botanical and
Latin names of these weeds, must be abolished. When one of the firms
referred to receives a letter asking for the price of Rattle Top Root, they
at once know that Cimicifuga Racemosa
is meant; or if it be Shonny
Haw, they readily understand it to mean Viburnum Prunifolium
Jimson Weed as Stramonium Datura
; Indian Tobacco as Lobelia
; Star Roots as Helonias
Roots, and so on throughout the entire
list of items.
Should an occasion arise when the name by which an article is locally
known cannot be understood, a sample sent by mail will soon be the
means of making plain to the buyer what is meant.
Among the many items which it is now necessary to import from
Germany, Russia, France, Austria and other foreign countries, which
might be produced by this country, the more important are: Dandelion
Roots, Burdock Roots, Angelica Roots, Asparagus Roots, Red Clover
Heads, or blossoms, Corn Silk, Doggrass, Elder Flowers, Horehound
Herb, Motherwort Herb, Parsley Root, Parsley Seed, Sage Leaves,
Stramonium Leaves or Jamestown Leaves, Yellow Dock Root, together
with many others.
Dandelion Roots have at times become so scarce in the markets as to
reach a price of 50c per pound as the cost to import it is small there was
great profit somewhere.
These items just enumerated would not be worthy of mention were they
of small importance. It is true, though, that with one or two exceptions,
the amounts annually imported are from one hundred to five hundred
thousand pounds or more.
As plentiful as are Red Clover Flowers, this item last fall brought very
close to 20c per pound when being purchased in two to ten-ton lots for
the Winter's consumption.
For five years past values for all Crude Drugs have advanced in many
instances beyond a proportionate advance in the cost of labor, and they Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 8
bid fair to maintain such a position permanently. It is safe to estimate
the average enhancement of values to be at least 100% over this period;
those not reaching such an increased price fully made up for by others
which have many times doubled in value.
It is beyond the bounds of possibility to pursue in detail all of the facts
which might prove interesting regarding this business, but it is
important that, to an extent at least, the matter of fluctuations in values
be explained before this subject can be ever in a measure complete.
All items embraced in the list of readily marketable items are at times
very high in price and other times very low; this is brought about
principally by the supply. It is usually the case that an article gradually
declines in price, when it has once started, until the price ceases to make
its production profitable.
It is then neglected by those formerly gathering it, leaving the natural
demand nothing to draw upon except stocks which have accumulated in
the hands of dealers. It is more often the case that such stocks are
consumed before any one has become aware of the fact that none has
been collected for some time, and that nowhere can any be found ready
for the market.
Dealers then begin to make inquiry, they urge its collection by those
who formerly did it, insisting still upon paying only the old price. The
situation becomes acute; the small lots held are not released until a
fabulous price may be realized, thus establishing a very much higher
market. Very soon the advanced prices reach the collector, offers are
rapidly made him at higher and higher prices, until finally every one in
the district is attracted by the high and profitable figures being offered.
It is right here that every careful person concerned needs to be doubly
careful else, in the inevitable drop in prices caused by the over-
production which as a matter of course follows, he will lose money, It
will probably take two to five years then for this operation to repeat
itself with these items, which have after this declined even to lower
figures than before.
In the meantime attention is directed to others undergoing the same
experience. A thorough understanding of these circurnstances and
proper heed given to them, will save much for the collector and make
him win in the majority of cases. Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 9
Books and other information can be had by writing to the
manufacturers and dealers whose advertisements may be found in this
and other papers. Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants - Harding - Page 10
- Title Page
- CHAPTER I. PLANTS AS A SOURCE OF REVENUE.
- CHAPTER II. LIST OF PLANTS HAVING MEDICINAL VALUE.
- CHAPTER III. CULTIVATION OF WILD PLANTS.
- CHAPTER IV. THE STORY OF GINSENG.
- GEORGE STANTON.