Campus News

Book highlights the importance of wild American ginseng

Wild American ginseng, America’s most famous medicinal plant, is in trouble. In plain prose, James McGraw explains why as he translates the latest in ecological and conservation science findings on this unassuming understory herb. As the world’s foremost authority on wild ginseng, McGraw is uniquely poised to present this story based on more than 20 years of uninterrupted field research.

In “Wild American Ginseng: Lessons for Conservation in the Age of Humans,” McGraw traces the dramatic ecological history of ginseng in North America, documenting the ginseng-centric view of a world increasingly dominated by both direct and indirect actions of humans. Far more than a story of a single plant species, ginseng becomes a parable, a canary in a coal mine, for what is happening to dwindling wild species across the globe. Documenting lingchi (death by a thousand cuts) in human interactions with wild species, McGraw shows readers the evidence of slowly eroding biodiversity and diminishing global biotreasury.

McGraw also offers a pathway to an optimistic future for ginseng and the wild species with whom peopleshare the planet. He illuminates how a dramatic expansion of commitment to sharing the planet with fellow planetary companions is the key to preservation; and now is the time to do so