Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
Ginseng hunting is regulated by season in Virginia
Sunday, October 20, 2013
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
The hunting of ginseng — described by Ohio State University Extension as one of the world’s most valued plants — is permitted in Virginia only during certain times of the year.
Three men who became lost on a mountainside in Vesta last week were charged with trespassing to hunt ginseng, according to the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office.
Ginseng is valued for its uses in holistic medicine. According to webmd.com, it is believed to boost the immune system, lower blood sugar and improve concentration. Most of those claims have not been seriously researched, the website said.
According to the West Virginia Division of Forestry, ginseng root — the root is the valuable part of the plant — sold for an average of $410 in the 2011 season. The price fluctuates based on demand, the forestry division’s website shows.
Dustin Foley, an officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said ginseng hunting in Virginia is limited to the season from early August to the end of December. Permission from a landowner also is required, Foley said.
Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith said his office receives a few calls each fall from property owners reporting people trespassing to hunt ginseng. Ginseng grows best on hillsides in shady, cool conditions, according to online information.
The seasonal hunting limits were set to protect the herb. According to information from Purdue University, ginseng is native to the deciduous forests of the eastern United States and once thrived along most of the eastern seaboard. However, it was over-harvested in the mid-1970s, leading to its regulation.