sengerOctober 29, 2007

i just recently picked some wild goldenseal roots. I called a guy today who buys these roots and he said hes currently giving 25 bucks a pound per dried root. this is the first year ive really gotton serious about digging goldenseal, i usually just dig ginseng, but 25 dollars a pound sounds a little low to me. does anyone know the going price on goldenseal right now.

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I have no idea about pricing, but I do know that goldenseal is becoming increasingly rare and is protected in many areas. I wonder if this person is harvesting from the wild illegally?

Another issue: ginseng should be harvested when the plant is at least 4 years old, and preferably when 5-9 years old. Perhaps the stuff he's getting is not mature - therefore not as good as it should be?

Could you not try to grow some of your own instead of collecting it from the wild? It is not an infinite resource and should be conserved where possible.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 6:46PM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

I trust you are digging this from your own land, digging from land you don't own is illegal. Goldenseal and ginsend are both endangered in most of North America due to digging of wild plants; when you dig the root you kill the plant.

Ethical herbalists are now using other plants in place of goldenseal and ginseng unless the supplier can prove it was nursery grown, not wild gathered.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2007 at 10:52PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I know retail price for goldenseal root is much more but I'm unsure what the dealers would pay wildcrafters. But and it is a huge but there is a strong push amongst herbalists and other practitioners who use medicinal botanicals to use herbs that are 1.) not endangered/threatened 2.) cultivated (not wild collected) and/or 3.) harvested ethically (this means with good stewardship practices). I suspect that growing trend will effect the price you can get now and even more so in the future on wild collected root.

I would suggest that since you have perfect growing conditions for both ginseng and goldenseal that you plant your own patches. Both will grow from berries or rootlets. Plant patches over a series of years and in a number of years begin harvesting your own cultivated roots. Each year plant a new small patch that you don't intend to harvest as well as your "cultivated" patches. This way you will increase wild populations as well as having material to harvest. This isn't a get rich tomorrow sort of venture but it is sustainable and follows good stewardship practices. I believe that over the long run, this would be more profitable than harvesting wild populations which are vanishing at alarming rates.

Here's a document that includes good stewardship practices for goldenseal. I included one below for ginseng.


Here is a link that might be useful: AHPA Good Stewardship Harvesting of American Ginseng

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 11:35AM
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well no.1 I always replant some of the roots i collect in my own private herb garden. No. 2 when digging goldenseal i dont get greedy with it i always just dig the mature plants and leave the younger ones. no. 3 it isnt illegal to dig on others peoples property as long as you have there permission. all the plants ive dug i have had permission by the land owner to do so. goldenseal may be getting rare. but in my area its not due to overharvesting. its due to surface and underground coal mining. if i dont get it they will. and they destroy it. atleast i do replant it. and btw thank you FataMorgana for being nice in your follow-up.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 11:26PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

You are right - habit destruction is another big problem and it is a problem for all wild plants not just the highly sought after ones. Unfortunately it is a problem that I suspect will get only worse.

No problem on the follow-up tone. :) The harvesting of wild plants is a topic that people feel very strongly about. I do too but if I answered in a hostile tone I'm only going to get hostility back and neither of us would have had a chance to talk and learn anything. Others may disagree, but I don't have any problems harvesting from places that are only going to be destroyed - especially if you are also "rescuing" plants to plant them in other wild areas. It's a shame that so many things fall prey to the bulldozer.

I just looked up goldenseal in _Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field & Marketplace_ by Sturdivant and Blakely. It says that brokers or distributors will pay $35 per pound for wildcrafted goldenseal root. Organic goldenseal for $50 per pound. It also goes on to say that:

"Imagine spending $3000 to $5000 to plant an acre under trees; this would include root divisions, fertilizer, and some materials (chainsaw maintenance) to clear the acre for planting. With some labor, which one person could easily handle, that acre in four years might yield 500 to 800 pounds of dry root. At $50 per pound that would be $25,000 to $40,000. Of course, lots of things could go wrong and prices might dip, but it has lots of potential."


    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:11AM
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