A ban on harvesting wild ginseng within Kentucky’s national forest remains in effect.
Although not pertaining to private properties, U.S. Forest Service botanist David Taylor expects public forest land to be protected from ginseng cultivation at least over the next year. He says it’s hard to say when the ban will be lifted. “We honestly don’t know right now. We are working with the state department of agriculture and farmers to monitor ginseng populations. The State Department of Agriculture’s been doing it for a while,” said Taylor.
The root of the plant is marketed internationally as an herbal medicine for various ailments, but Western research has proved no conclusive evidence of beneficial health claims. Much of wild ginseng’s decline is attributed to illegal harvest methods.