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How To Pick Ginseng

If store-bought ginseng has gotten too expensive, trying picking your own.


  • Step 1: Expose the root ball by gently digging around the plant with a small shovel or trowel.
  • Step 2: Extract as much of the root ball as possible -- this is where ginseng gets it's healing properties. Wash away the dirt and place the plant in a basket or bag.
  • FACT: It takes between 100 and 300 fresh ginseng roots to make 1 pound of dried ginseng.
  • Step 3: Clear the bed surface with a hand rake by gently scraping away loose dirt and dead plant material.
  • TIP: Leave small, younger plants alone so that they can reproduce and support further harvesting.
  • Step 4: Identify the ginseng plant by looking for a stem of five leaves with small, greenish-white flowers in the middle. Red berries may be present.
  • Step 5: Check for maturity by looking for plants that have at least two stems of leaves and are between 8 and 27 inches tall.
  • Step 6: Put on gardening clothes that are comfortable and that you don't mind getting dirty.

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