Fresh From Appalachia: Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Traditional Chinese medicine is gaining acceptance in the U.S., though still largely as a complementary treatment.

Mainstream doctors are mixed on its effectiveness. Still, as alternative treatments gain traction and the demand for Chinese herbs grows, farmers in Appalachia are responding.

The Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine in Pilot, Va., is surrounded by miles of mountains, forests and farmland.

Outside the building, small plots of Chinese medicinal herbs grow on terraced slopes.

"A lot of these herbs we are going to let flower and be pollinated and grow for the seed because there is such a need for the seed," says David Grimsley, co-director of the Appalachian Medicinal Herb Growers Consortium, a new project based at the center that teaches others how to grow native Chinese herbs in Appalachia.

At the Appalachian Medicinal Herb Growers Consortium, the goal is to raise plants that meet the quality standards demanded by clinical practitioners.

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