DELMAR, New York (AP) -- Expanding interest in traditional Chinese medicine in the United States is fostering a potentially lucrative new niche market for farmers.
While almost all practitioners still rely on imports from China, concerns over contamination and quality is driving up demand for herbs grown in the U.S. Grower groups have been set up in New York, Virginia and Washington state to help farmers establish trial stands of the most popular plants.
Jean Giblette is a researcher who established New York's group this year. She estimates the market for domestically grown medicinal plants to be $200 million to $300 million a year.
Rob Glenn is chairman of the Blue Ridge Center for Chinese Medicine in Pilot, Virginia. He says practitioners have indicated they're willing to pay a premium price for high-quality domestically grown herbs.