The Market For Ginseng : Planet Money Wild ginseng sells for thousands. We go to a farm hidden in the Appalachian mountains to find out why. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
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The Problem Of The Root

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The Problem Of The Root

The Problem Of The Root

The Problem Of The Root

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/879511496/879523483" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Fong Lam holding ginseng. Julia DeWitt hide caption

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Julia DeWitt

Fong Lam holding ginseng.

Julia DeWitt

Ginseng is a little ginger-like root that grows in the mountains of Appalachia. It has been used for thousands of years, mostly in China, as a remedy for everything from fatigue to cancer. It is poached from state forests; and it is farmed in secret locations. People have been killed over it.

But not all ginseng is created equal. There's cultivated ginseng and wild ginseng. And the wild stuff is where the money is. It can cost a thousand dollars a pound, or more.

There is a problem with this market: No one quite knows what wild is. Today on the show, we go to a hidden ginseng farm and try to find out.

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