In The News...

Ontario Ginseng Growers Optimistic
Source: The Expositor (December 21, 2009)

Ontario ginseng growers are enjoying the effects of a gradually rising market for this year’s harvest. According to monitoring reports from the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association, prices for third-and fourth-year root began in late September at an average $10 to $11 per pound, around the same level they ended last year; but they rose a few weeks later to $12 to $13 perpound mark.

In the past few weeks before the traditional lull until the Chinese New Year, growers have been fetching $14 to $15 per pound, with higher quality root claiming $17 per pound in some cases. It’s not completely a surprise, given the range of factors in the market this year, said association president Doug Bradley. Normally the market for premium Canadian root starts off strong then wanes in December, he said, but several factors were different this year, contributing to a different price trend. Fewer acres were dug this year, compared to the previous three, due to crop and frost problems in the Ontario patch, which is centred in Norfolk, Brant, Oxford and Elgin counties.

In all, an estimated five million pounds were dug, dried and put on the market in Canada. That figure is down substantially from 6.5 million pounds in 2008, the last year of substantial yields from British Columbia, as growers there retire the field. The lower volume has definitely contributed to the general escalation in prices, as more buyers became aware of it, said Bradley. In addition, fewer acres of Chinese-grown Canadian ginseng were harvested across the ocean, adding more flavour to rates for the premium root.

“Buyers became more concerned about the lower volume and were prepared to pay more to lock up supplies,” said Bradley. “It’s a good trend.”

The association also sees good portents for next year’s market. Bradley noted that there will be 500 fewer acres of four-year root, and fewer acres of seedlings were planted this year.

The association’s membership has lowered during the past year to about 150, a 25 per cent drop from around 200 two years ago. Bradley attributed the drop to tighter market conditions with lower prices in the past three years and the retirement of some growers from the crop sector.

In 2010, the association will continue to pursue its strategy of penetrating more deeply and directly into the Mainland Chinese market, which it believes can be achieved by better merchandising and advertising a distinct Ontario crop that customers can identify.

AIDS Patients Survive On Red Ginseng For 20 Years: Doctor
Source: (July 19, 2009)

A Seoul-based hospital said Sunday that many of the country's AIDS patients have remained healthy for more than 20 years after taking no medicinal materials other than Korean red ginseng.

Asan Medical Center said that its research team, led by Cho Young-keol, has regularly administered Korean red ginseng to a group of patients infected with the HIV virus, which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome, in clinical trials since 1991 and some of the patients have maintained their health for two decades.

"Some AIDs patients who didn't take any AIDS treatment and depended on red ginseng alone have survived and have been in a healthy condition for over 20 years," Cho, who also teaches at the University of Ulsan's medical college.

Cho said the results of his research were published in an international journal, titled "AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses," and presented to an international antiviral conference now under way in Beijing.

He said long-term intake of Korean red ginseng has helped AIDS patients slow the phenomena of immune cell reduction and destroyed the so-called "nef" genes associated with the outbreak of AIDS.

Interestingly, a patient diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 has witnessed thenumber of his immune cells returning to normal as a result of having regularly taken red ginseng since then," said Cho.

Doctor Claims Ginseng Extract Cures Cancer
Source: (July 22, 2009)

An Oriental Medicine doctor claims that wild cultivated ginseng may be the key to health and longevity.

Dr. Park Chi-wan of Kyung Hee Sungsin Oriental Medicine Hospital in Seoul said that a special extract from the root is effective against cancer and some other diseases. He said the combination of extract injections, extract pills and a proper diet could increase the survival rate of cancer patients, and have an anti-aging effect.

Whether his claims will be acknowledged by mainstream medical circles is still questionable, but the doctor said he has enough field data to prove his theory. He said he sees more than 100 cancer patients a day with a considerable number of them thanking him for easing their pain.

Park said saponin extracted from distilled ginseng helps cure cancer, liver cirrhosis and other critical diseases.

He said there is a simple mechanism to all the treatments. ``Cancers or other major sicknesses are usually aging diseases. You get old, your body organs do not function as well as they did when you were young. However, by injecting the saponin, one's body can go back to the days where you were young and healthy, when you had self-healing power inside you. So you get healed,'' he said.

Park and Sangji University research team found that mice injected with saponin tend to have better hair texture and color; move well and see better. They also found that when injected into the bloodstream it was found with various proteins to work as an antioxidant.

He said he recently decided not to accept payment for the treatment of patients unless they live longer than initially diagnosed, or will give refunds to family members if they die during treatment or live less than their Western medical doctors predicted.

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