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In a continued effort to confront the History Channel regarding the erroneous content of the 'reality' TV series Appalachian Outlaws and its falsification of American Ginseng harvest and trade, United Plant Savers (UpS) has teamed up with American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and numerous other environmental, industry, and academic organizations. The outcome of this collaboration was a letter sent by UpS and AHPA directly to the President and CEO of A & E Networks challenging them to set the record straight and tell the real story of American Ginseng. This letter can be read here.

In addition, the following statement was released nationally on January 23, 2014 and includes input from the following individuals and organizations: IUCN Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, the American Botanical Council, Rural Action, Eric Burkhart of Pennsylvania State University, James McGraw, Eberly Family Professor of Biology of West Virginia University; and the following real herbal companies: American Botanicals, Herb Pharm, Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises, Duncan’s Botanical Products, Gaia Herbs, Mountain Rose Herbs, Ohio River Ginseng, and Strategic Sourcing.

United Plant Savers would like to thank the above-mentioned collaborators for their time and assistance in making the following statement possible. We ask that our members and supporters consider signing our Save American Ginseng Petition that can be found here.


History Channel criticized for false portrayal of ginseng harvest
Ginseng stakeholders challenge ‘Appalachian Outlaws’ to set the record straight

January 23, 2014 (ATHENS, OH) Environmental, trade and academic organizations are criticizing History® (formerly The History Channel) for its false portrayal of the wild American ginseng harvest presented on its ‘reality’ style show, ‘Appalachian Outlaws.’ This series showcases trespassing and theft, parodies rural Americans as criminals, and ignores the tradition of wild ginseng good stewardship harvest practices that have been used by generations of real-life ginseng diggers.

In an effort to address the show’s distortions, United Plant Savers (UpS) and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) sent a letter to the network challenging it to correct the record.

“The History Channel has missed an opportunity to tell the real story of the American ginseng trade and its fascinating contribution to America’s heritage,” commented Susan Leopold, executive director UpS. “Instead, this poorly researched show has glorified illegal harvest practices and risks having a negative impact on the species’ survival.”

“Real ginseng diggers and dealers have long recognized that American Ginseng must be harvested responsibly in order to protect both the plants and their livelihoods,” added AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “Wild ginseng contributes millions of dollars every year to the economies of rural Appalachian communities, and our organizations have worked closely with regulatory agencies to support legal and responsible harvest practices throughout ginseng’s habitat.”

At a time when American ginseng is increasingly being adopted as a viable forest crop, the content of ‘Appalachian Outlaws’ threatens to undermine private landowners’ sustainable production of American ginseng. “There is nothing 'entertaining' about theft of crops that may take years or even decades for landowners to produce," remarks Eric Burkhart of Pennsylvania State University.

“I am disappointed that the History Channel would resort to highlighting the worst kind of behavior of ginseng harvesters,” said James McGraw, Eberly Family Professor of Biology of West Virginia University.

Letter written by private landowner about Ginseng poaching problem, compliments of Eric Burkhart

Other organizations supporting the criticism of ‘Appalachian Outlaws,’ include IUCN Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, the American Botanical Council, Rural Action; and the following real herbal companies: American Botanicals, Herb Pharm, Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprises, Duncan’s Botanical Products, Gaia Herbs, Mountain Rose Herbs, Ohio River Ginseng, and Strategic Sourcing.

UPDATE on HISTORY CHANNEL and 'APPALACHIAN OUTLAWS'… January 17, 2014 - Dear members and supporters, we wanted to let you know that United Plant Savers and our colleagues involved with American Ginseng Conservation continue to pursue the History Channel regarding the content of this series. Last night's episode was saturated with error and misguidance especially in regards to the misidentification of plants, sale of dry vs fresh roots, the cost of roots per pound, and the inappropriate harvesting of underage plants. In addition, we are all still very concerned about the illegal harvest on both private and public lands that is being portrayed. If you share our concern, please feel free to contact the network directly: The parent company of the History Channel is AE Network. Feedback on the program can be sent to aefeedback@aenetworks.com. Or to A&E Television Networks, 235 East 45th Street, New York, New York 10017; or phone or fax the network at: 212-210-1400 (phone) or 212-210-9016 (fax). You can also contact them through the History Channel Facebook page. Please, as always, be respectful and professional in your communications.


United Plant Savers releases national statement, warns History Channel about dangers of promoting illegal harvest of American Ginseng 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


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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