• Goldenseal
  • Black Cohosh
  • Laddy Slipper Orchid
  • Trillium
 

by Lee Rinehart, Director of Education & Outreach, Pennsylvania Certified Organic

forest grownSustainable harvesting of wild-grown medicinal plants is becoming a major concern to reduce the threat to forest plant biodiversity. Wild ecologies can be fragile, and given the demand for medicinal plants, the industry is looking for ways to verify the conscientious production and harvest of wild-grown products.

In response to this demand Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) has established a voluntary Forest Grown Verification Program for forest grown products that are sustainably and legally produced and harvested. The program currently focuses on American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) products from private land, and PCO is currently working to add several other forest products to the list including black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), false unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), forest-farmed mushrooms, and forest farmed leeks. The program standards for ginseng were developed by PCO through research of federal and state regulations, consultations with industry professionals and PCO members, and information from scientific publications.

Getting more forest grown producers on board is the principle focus of UpS and PCO, evidenced by a new program designed to incentivize verification by reducing the costs to producers. The Forest Grown Cost Share program is a joint effort between UpS and PCO to offset verification fees for PCO Verified Forest Grown production operations. UpS has dedicated funds specifically for the program that will be administered by PCO, with the potential to continue the program on an annual basis.

“PCO is excited to work with United Plant Savers to encourage forest grown verification,” says PCO’s Director of Education and Outreach, Lee Rinehart. “The funds provided by UpS for the cost share program help reduce the financial burden of growers who harvest forest products with careful attention to the sustainability of forest ecologies. Third-party verification communicates to consumers that the products they purchase were stewarded and legally harvested in a manner that does not degrade the long-term regenerative capability of the wild population.”

Interested producers and handlers of forest grown products can contact Adam Seitz, PCO Certification Specialist at (814) 422-0251 to obtain a Forest Grown System Plan, or visit www.paorganic.org/forestgrown for more information and a downloadable PCO Forest Grown Verification Program Manual

Call for Articles: 2016 Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation Dear Friends and Members of United Plant Savers, 

The time has come to collect new articles for our annual Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation, to be published in Spring 2016. We invite all of our members and supporters to tell their stories and share their knowledge and experiences in this upcoming issue. If you have participated in research or have stories or news of interest about “At-Risk” or native medicinal plants, please share with our membership. Theme: 
Understanding the Supply Chain for At-Risk Plants and the challenges to sustainable harvesting of forest botanicals The theme for the Spring 2016 Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation is ‘Understanding the supply Chain for At-Risk Plants’. How do we balance between demand and limited supply of slow-growing wild harvested plants, what about the quality of these plants at time of harvest and the ethics in how we harvest? How do we bring ceremony into our harvesting practices and how do we make choices when buying herbs that we know are endangered. We welcome your submission and we do have a selective process so not all submission will be published but we will try and share them through emails and social media when possible. Submission

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Planting the Future: Stewardship of Sanctuary, October 4, 2014 at the Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio.OCTOBER 4, 2014 RUTLAND, OH The weather was literally 20 degrees warmer with full sun the day before our big event at the Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio. We were still in set up mode the evening before as the grumpy cumulus clouds moved in and hoarded the sky vowing cold, hard rain. But all hope was not lost on the incumbent weather, for when the temperature and rain both began to plummet, interspersing promises of sunshine were also breaking through, highlighting the autumnal mosaic like flecks of gold in stone and lifting our sense of hope with arching rainbows across the hollow. The morning of the event brought our first hail of the season, but that was no match for the steadfast queue of visitors lining up at the registration table. One can only apologize for the weather so much, until it becomes clear that weather has never really stopped those who want to learn from the fields and forests (albeit it can be quite the deterrent).

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United Plant Savers and Sacred Seeds join forces to expand mission of medicinal plant conservationOCTOBER 2014, FRONT ROYAL, VA Susan Leopold, Executive Director, United Plant Savers United Plant Savers is thrilled to announce our merger with Sacred Seeds. Sacred Seeds is a global network of sanctuaries preserving biodiversity and plant knowledge through living gardens, containing locally important plants focused on medicinals but including those of ceremonial, food, and craft use. Sacred Seeds formed from the vision of its founding garden at New Chapter’s partner farm Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica, similar to how United Plant Savers Goldenseal Sanctuary in Ohio became the vision for the Botanical Sanctuary Network. Uniting the work of UpS and the Sacred Seeds foundational gardens of which there are currently 31, we intend to grow our Botanical Sanctuary Network and the Foundation Gardens in the effort to safeguard traditional plant knowledge and the native habitats in which these sacred plants thrive. Sacred Seeds has been managed at the William L. Brown Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden by ethnobotanist Ashley Glenn, in collaboration with New Chapter. United Plant Savers will continue to collaborate with the Missouri Botanical Garden as we move forward with the common vision of working with local communities to keep the flame of knowledge alive. United Plant Savers would especially

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American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® August 15, 2014 The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), in collaboration with United Plant Savers (UpS) as well as noted research botanist Kelly Kindscher of the University of Kansas and other acknowledged experts, is in the process of developing an AHP Monograph and Therapeutic Compendium for the North American native botanical osha (Ligusticum porteri). A historically important and environmentally sensitive plant, osha has been one of the most neglected in terms of research without any known monograph. As with all AHP monographs, a suite of scientifically valid identification tests will be provided, which is critical as adulteration with potentially deadly species from the Apiaceae family can occur. Furthermore, as the use of osha as a dietary supplement is trending upwards, a delicate balance must be struck between commercial use and conservation. According to AHP President Roy Upton, “We are hoping the monograph, which will address identification, adulteration, and sustainable harvesting practices, along with formal population studies, will help strike an appropriate balance between its use and availability so we may approach the use of this plant safely and very consciously.” The genesis of the monograph arose from prior studies partially funded by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)

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Ginseng Reality TV: Cultivating Conservation or Encouraging Extinction?By Glynis Board of West Virginia Broadcasting For original publication and audio segment click here. OCT 9, 2014 A new reality TV show that features ginseng hunting premiered this week. Smoky Mountain Gold pits four teams against each other to see who can collect the most wild-ginseng. It comes in the wake of another reality show that aired in January this year, Appalachian Outlaws. Dried ginseng root sells for 400-900 dollars a pound, and these reality shows are generating a lot of new interest in the plant. That might be a good thing for the ginseng industry… or it might not be.   Frame from National Geographic Channel's new ginseng reality TV show: Smoky Mountain Money, which pits teams against each other to see who can collect the most ginseng. Credit National Geographic Poaching Up-tick Larry Harding is a ginseng farmer in Maryland. He cultivates the plant across 300 forest land acres; he sells seed, root, and even ginseng wine. He’s been in the ginseng business for decades. He says he gets hit by poachers every year, hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and losses. Just a few weeks ago while he was patrolling his fields in the middle of the

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A new chapter in the story of Hawaii's sandalwood trees has begun, Hana Hou Magazine JULY 2014JULY 2014 During the Spring of 2014, our Executive Director, Susan Leopold travels to Hawaii to investigate the ongoing sustainability issues regarding the harvest of native Hawaiian Sandalwood and the various mapping, replanting, and conservation projects taking place on the Big Island. During her visit, she was interviewed by Shannon Wianecki of Hana Hou magazine. This is a wonderful article which gives a thorough overview of the history behind the Hawaiian Sandalwood trade and where it stands today amidst larger conservation and sustainability concerns. Click the image below to view the scanned article from Hana Hou June/July 2014, pp.86-95. To read the scanned article from Hana Hou June/July 2014, pp. 86-95: This article will also be available at a future date directly from Hana Hou's website.

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Planting the Seeds of Mindfulness: United Plant Savers 2014 Community Grants cycle closes having supported a spectacular season of projects.JULY 31, 2014 (RUTLAND, OH) Planting the Seeds of Mindfulness: United Plant Savers 2014 Community Grants cycle closes having supported a spectacular season of projects. This was a popular year for United Plant Savers Community Grants program. This program, only available to our membership, is designed to support community-based projects that include the replanting of medicinal plants native to the United States and Canada. A total of three projects were funded this year including the successful proposals from Vermont Center for Integrated Herbalism (VCIH) of Montpelier, Vermont, Turtle Mountain Herbs of Rockford, Tennessee, and Northwest Middle School of Northwest Local Schools in Canal Fulton, Ohio.   United Plant Savers is honored to support the ‘Planting the Seeds of Mindfulness’ project at Northwest Middle School of Northwest Local School Districtof Canal Fulton, Ohio . Through this project, 15 Northwest Middle School students, will have the opportunity to create and plant a medicinal nature trail. These students will be working with Sandra Engle, School Psychologist and United Plant Savers member, planting Bloodroot, American Ginseng, Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, Ramps, Goldenseal, Wild Yam, Lobelia Inflata, Slippery Elm and Virginia Snakeroot. The Students will also be starting Echinacea and Arnica seeds and tending

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Stakeholders Meet for Ginseng Summit, Discuss Industry To-Dos, To-Don’ts, Ta-DasJULY 16, 2014, RUTLAND, OH United Plant Savers was honored to host the 2014 American Ginseng Summit last month at our Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, OH. Read below for an overview of what was spoken about in regards to safe-guarding wild populations of American Ginseng as well as protecting the American Ginseng export industry and creating a domestic market. We highly recommend you listen to the live NPR broadcast and coverage of the 2014 American Ginseng Summit HERE.   Ginseng Summit 2014 By Glynis Board, West Virginia Public Radio About 35 gathered, including producers, buyers, government enforcement agents, and academics, to discuss relevant topics within the ginseng industry. United Plan Savers hosted the summit. Susan Leopold, the medicinal native plant conservation group’s exec director, said there are two main goals of the summit, both focused on conserving the plant:
  • Conservation through cultivation; encouraging people to grow American Ginseng on their wood lots.
  • Promoting a national conservation plan that looks at protecting wild populations of genetic diversity throughout ginseng’s range.
Folks at the 2014 Ginseng Summit were also working to find ways to collaborate among themselves to develop and align best practices to sustain their agro-forest business. Demand for ginseng root in

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Seeking Nominations

Do you have someone or an organization in mind that you would like to nominate for the Medicinal Plant Conservation Award? If so send an email and tell us why. Nominations should be emailed to office@unitedplantsavers.org


Call for Articles

Time is running out! 
We want to include YOUR article
in the next Journal of Medicinal
Plant Conservation.
Deadline for submissions:
January 10th, 2018
for details click here


Events that Promote the
work and mission of UpS

Florida Herbal Conference
Lake Wales, Florida
February 23th-25th, 2018


2018 DATES ANNOUNCED

United Plant Savers Medicinal Plant Conservation Certificate Program

Spring 2018: Monday, April 30 - Friday, June 8.
Fall 2018: Tuesday, Sept. 4 - Friday, Oct. 12.

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