A man, running through the woods, emptying wild ginseng from his backpack.

China’s Gold Rush in the Hills of Appalachia

Wild ginseng is scarce in China, where’s been overharvested and underplanted. In Appalachia, it grows wild and the product is of high quality. As the Chinese economy grew, and the Appalachian economy collapsed, selling — and stealing — wild ginseng root became big business.