The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is supporting proposed regulations in Virginia to establish new requirements for the harvest and purchase of wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) within the state. The proposed regulation was developed to address concerns voiced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which concluded that current practices aren't adequate to ensure ginseng's survival in Virginia.
Under the proposal, only ginseng that is at least five years old will be allowed to be harvested. There would also be a slightly smaller harvest window, beginning on Sept. 1 instead of Aug. 15, on the advice of FWS, which believes that the modified dates will allow wild ginseng to fully fruit, allowing the propagation of the plants that are being harvested. Harvesters would be required to plant the seeds of harvested plants at the site where the plants were taken. The proposal also would establish seasons for licensed dealers to buy the root.
"AHPA has always been supportive of rational harvest practices to ensure the continued viability of the species," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "AHPA supports the proposed regulation and agrees that if adopted it will assist in ensuring the long-term survival of wild ginseng in Virginia, facilitate the continued commercial trade of this valuable plant, and assist in protecting the welfare of those citizens of Virginia who rely on ginseng revenue for supplemental income. "
In 2006, AHPA worked with FWS and United Plant Savers to coproduce brochures on good stewardship harvesting of wild American ginseng. Regulators in the 19 states from which export of wild American ginseng is allowed by FWS post the Good Stewardship Harvesting of Wild American Ginseng brochures. The brochures provide information on current state and federal regulations that apply to harvesters and buyers of wild American ginseng and contact information for state regulatory offices and are available at no cost to harvesters and other interested parties on the AHPA