In recent years, the plant become a key product of the local economy. It is now grown on thousands of hectares.
Xo Dang people in Nam Tra My district, Quang Nam province, call Ngoc Linh ginseng a miracle medicine because it has helped them survive severe weather and harsh natural conditions for thousands of years.
All parts of the plant - roots, leaves, stems, and seeds - are useful.
The price of fresh ginseng root ranges from US$4,500 to US$22,000 per kg depending on its ages.
Mr. Ho Van Du of Tra Linh commune has been growing ginseng for approximately 40 years. Du said 1 ha of ginseng earned him US$1.3 million to US$2.6 million in 5 to 7 years.
He said, “Ginseng is a rare and valuable medicinal plant. If locals learn how to grow it, they can make money from it and escape poverty.”
According to scientists, the roots, the stems and leaves of Ngoc Linh ginseng contain more saponins than other ginsengs. The plant improves people’s health and can be combined with other medicinal plants to cure serious diseases.
Associate Professor Doctor Tran Cong Luan who has studied Ngoc Linh ginseng for 30 years said the plant rank among the world’s 5 valuable endemic ginsengs: “In the world, there’s no other type of ginseng that contains rich saponins like Ngoc Linh ginseng. The stem and root of Ngoc Linh ginseng contain 52 saponins.”
Quang Nam province and Nam Tra My district have created incentives to attract investment in ginseng cultivation. There are plans to build a processing factory in the region.
Doctor Nguyen Lan Hung, Secretary General of the Vietnam Biology Association, said, “We need to select good enterprises and encourage them to cooperate with farmers in growing and selling Ngoc Linh ginseng. I predict Ngoc Linh ginseng will become popular both at home and in the overseas markets.”
The National Office of Intellectual Property has issued geographical indications for Ngoc Linh ginseng to boost its prestige. The Prime Minister has approved a national program to protect and develop Ngoc Linh ginseng and has designated it a a national product.