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Friday, January 10, 2014 at 10:14am, United Plant Savers released the following national statement regarding the content of the new series 'Appalachian Outlaws' which premiered Thursday evening on the History Channel:

United Plant Savers warns History Channel about dangers of promoting harvest of threatened species.



January 10, 2014 (ATHENS, OH) United Plant Savers is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of medicinal plants native to the United States and Canada. As advocates for the dwindling populations of wild American Ginseng, United Plant Savers is expressing concern to the History Channel and its viewers over how the harvest of wild American Ginseng is being portrayed in the recent series ‘Appalachian Outlaws’. This concern stems from the potential over-glorification of American Ginseng harvest in the wake of increasing levels of illegal harvest on state and federal lands, which has recently gained national media attention and is threatening the survival of the species in the wild.

“United Plant Savers is concerned that the content of this show will have a negative impact on American Ginseng conservation and could lead to further illegal harvesting,” states Executive Director, Susan Leopold.

With the intention of reducing pressures on wild populations of American Ginseng and other threatened medicinal plants, United Plant Savers has identified and published ‘At-Risk’ and ‘To-Watch’ lists of key species in decline due to a variety of factors including over-harvesting. American Ginseng is listed in Appendix II of the CITES Treaty and United Plant Savers is reminding the public about federal regulations, laws and recent restrictions surrounding the harvest and sale of the species, and good stewardship harvesting practices such as those published by the American Herbal Products Association in collaboration with United Plant Savers and US Fish and Wildlife.

The future viability of wild populations of American Ginseng is questionable in light of the species’ slow growth rate and complex reproductive strategy, loss of habitat, and increased illegal harvesting on state and federal lands in response to rising international demand and economic incentive. United Plant Savers has recently launched a national petition to encourage state and federal agencies to continue to fund initiatives specifically aimed at the conservation of American Ginseng and to facilitate educational programs for private landowners on how to grow American Ginseng as a non-timber forest product.

United Plant Savers acknowledges the cultural heritage and historical role that American Ginseng has played in the Appalachian region and encourages those that are interested in the harvesting of American Ginseng to educate themselves about conservation issues and regulations on the species.

United Plant Savers encourages our members and supporters to remain vigilant in regards to the illegal harvest of American Ginseng and report any such known activity to your local federal or state lands law enforcement agency.

Celebration of the Cohoshes’ was a celebration indeed. On September 28, 2013, researchers, medicinal herb growers, herbalists and students alike gathered in the spirit of medicinal plant conservation and were kept company by the warm autumn sun and brilliant glow of the hills at the Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary in Rutland, Ohio. The event hosted classes in wild-simulated cultivation, propagation techniques, and herbal medicine therapeutics and use of black and blue cohosh (Actaea racemosa and Caulophyllum thalictroides). Folklore and history surrounding these Ohio natives were also celebrated, providing a well-rounded educational experience on not only conserving and perpetuating the source of these native medicinal plants but also cultivating a better understanding of the consumers of these herbs, their therapeutic value, and their demand in the natural products marketplace. Although the event was structured around the conservation and use of black and blue cohosh, many of Ohio’s native medicinal plants were also attended to throughout the conference. Tanner Filyaw, Forest Botanicals Specialist from Rural Action taught on the cultivation of Ramp (Allium tricoccum ) as a non-timber forest product. There were also classes in wild-simulated cultivation and propagation of American ginseng taught by Chip Carroll of Woodland Wise Botanicals and Ed

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Help Save the Plants! by One Percent for the PlanetHelp Save the Plants! is Reprinted with Permission by OnePercentforthePlanet.org As the medicinal herb industry grows and the habitat for native plants diminishes, these plants are at-risk of over harvesting and potentially disappearing completely. Meanwhile, the health care industry is realizing just how important regional herbal medicine is to the vitality of local communities. Did you know that goldenseal is a powerful agent against the deadly bacteria that causes MRSA infection? Not only are people losing access to vital regional medicine, but the world is losing the plant diversity that is critical to ecosystem services, like processing carbon, and food for pollinators. United Plant Savers (UpS) is the only organization advocating for the sustainability of native medicinal plants and encouraging conservation through cultivation. Placing plants on an At-Risk List has been a great first step for protecting these plants; however, shifting land use practices and the increasing demands of the natural products industry require additional effort. UpS empowers its members to make a difference by creating native plant Sanctuaries in their own backyards and by promoting the responsible purchasing of herbal medicines. “It takes a lot of maturity, a maturity that the human species is still working toward,

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Gaian Mind with Stephen BuhnerI spent a weekend with Stephen Buhner, wordsmith, storyteller, poet, and teacher, at a class organized by Kathleen Maier's herb school, Sacred Plant Traditions. Stephen impregnated ideas of oneness, providing insight into the inner workings of the "Gaian Mind and the Secret Teachings of Plants", going back to the very life form and function of bacteria to the rich cultural diversity of plants. We were asked to open our hearts to what is termed the invisibles of communication, sitting with a plant and being open to the thoughts and feelings that immerge in the present moment. I sat with what looked like a variegated wild ginger, commonly knows as Virginia Heartleaf (Hexastylis virginica), and a member of the Aristolochiaceae family. I was drawn to the unusual patters of the flower and the heart shape of the leaf. Each of us in that class had our own unique story of what we encountered that afternoon as the cicadas sung their 17-year love song. Those who participated left with the task of following their heart and tapping deeper in Gaian awareness. Kathleen Maier's herb school www.sacredplanttraditions.com To find out more on Stephen's Books and Teachings.. www.gaianstudies.org A wonderful

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Elderberry an abundant native medicine[SIZE=4]Celebrating our Native Herbal Heritage: Sambucus canadensis[/SIZE] by Rob and Hilary Templeton Equinox Botanicals recently embarked on a mission to create a line of herbal syrups composed entirely of plants native or naturalized to North America. While developing the line’s ambassador, an Elderberry Syrup, following that criteria led to some encouraging discoveries that seemed to echo the project’s mantra: “Celebrate our native herbal heritage”. Sambucus nigra, the European black elderberry, has centuries of recorded history. It is known as a plant that possesses the power to ward off evil spirits. It has been utilized as a food, a wine, a dye, and for a variety of medicinal applications, especially with symptoms presenting as the onset of a cold or flu. Modern studies are now validating folkloric medicinal use of the plant. S. nigra contains abundant quantities of anthocyanins, the anti-oxidant pigment that is responsible for giving the berries their purple-blue color. Our bodies use antioxidants to neutralize harmful free radicals and protect us from disease. According to the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) method, elderberry’s “Total Antioxidant Capacity” is one of the highest of all small fruits, having nearly two times the value of cranberry and more than twice that of

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At-Risk Tool presented in Texas!The Powers of the Prairie and the Texan Inmortal aka Asclepias asperula…. This Texas milkweed, a uniquely beautiful Asclepias, is commonly known as “inmortal” for its seriously strong medicinal value. The milkweed’s name, inspired by the Greek physician who became known as the “father” of medicine, makes sense when thinking of the value of pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa), another potent medicinal milkweed. I was taken in by this native prairie medicine while exploring the LBJ grasslands in Texas, since I had never heard of the “inmortal”. The dried root is noted for being used in small doses to assist in stalled childbirth and to treat enlarged, or congested hearts. Highly toxic as well, this BIG medicine is not for the inexperienced. Milkweeds are known not only for their medicinal value, but also as critical food for various pollinators and their unique role in the prairie ecosystem. Asclepias asperula…. This brings me to my visit to the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, known to most as BRIT (www.brit.org). I was thrilled to be able to visit the state of the art LEED certified solar powered, native prairie plant roofed botanical library and herbarium collection that has become globally famous

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Spring Seed Give Away 2013 (ARNICA AND ARNICA ANALOGUES)DATE EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, MAY 3rd 2013 Spring Seed Giveaway, Arnica and Arnica Analogues by Richo Cech A vibrant patch of arnica, with flowers radiant in the summer sun, is a lovely focal point of the apothecary garden. In herbal medicine, arnica is among the most useful of remedies. The tincture or oil infusion of the dried flowers, applied topically, is an effective treatment for blunt traumatic injury, strains and sprains. The herb is an effective discutient, increasing circulation and helping dispel morbid matter--swelling goes down, bruises dissipate. Since antiquity, arnica has been combined with calendula and Saint John's wort, a dynamic threesome that assuages pain, fights infection, promotes nerve reparation and speeds healing, a formula that proves useful to this day. Arnica montana (mountain arnica), the endemic European species, is considered official. However, other species of arnica (there are 28 in North America) are used by local herbalists and appear to be medicinally interchangeable with the official species. Arnica chamissonis (meadow arnica) enjoys a wide distribution in North America and Europe and is listed in the German Commission E Monograph as a viable substitute for A. montana in herbal medicine. Finding substitutes for the official species is a worthy goal,

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The Hawaiian Sandalwood Video Project This past fall United Plant Savers co-organized the International Sandalwood Symposium that took place over four days, with over 30 academic presentations on the following topics: local and global markets and threats, chemistry and genetics, cultivation and propagation, ecology and environment, regional use and development, regulation and sustainable management. Speakers were from several countries including the United States, Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tonga and Vanuatu. Three take home points of the ISS gathering: beginning with the fact that the sandalwood story of Hawaii is one that is sadly playing out in island nations throughout the Pacific as small fragmented populations that are left of endemic species and varieties are struggling to survive due to an increase in price as supply shrinks. Secondly it is important for consumers to understand that nearly half the world’s global supply is being poached and that adulteration of sandalwood products is taking place. Third is that sandalwood as a value-added product has the potential to be an economic contribution to remote, rural island nations if efforts are invested in research, education, conservation and cultivation. In the winter of 2012 before the ISS gathering I traveled with my three kids to the

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Ginseng Expo UpS was one of the many sponsors of the Ginseng gathering December 7th-8th at the Mountain Horticultural Research Center in NC. Andy Hankins sadly passed away recently; he was an advocate for ginseng conservation, helping stewards of small farms like myself learn about planting ginseng. He also taught at UpS events and as an agricultural extension agent provided valuable information to many. The Ginseng Expo was dedicated to Andy Hankins and his efforts to help landowners grow wild-simulated ginseng in Virginia, which is now a key strategy for taking the pressure off of wild populations. Andy was a great teacher, a true plantsman and a strong advocate for helping small farmers make a living off their land. You can download his valuable research on ginseng and on growing cut flowers at this site: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/author/h/hankins-andy-res.html The Ginseng Expo was organized with valuable panel discussions and in house voting on important conservation issues. You can hear short interviews about the expo at: www.oursoutherncommunity.org. Many important topics were discussed on the great need for conservation of ginseng, including where it is disappearing from our national parks. To find out more download the following .pdf of

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