Asia is no stranger to North American ginseng. With medicinal properties and producing a distinctively stronger aroma and sweeter taste, approximately 2.27 million kilogrammes of North American ginseng root are shipped annually to Asia. North American ginseng is native to Ontario, Canada and has been cultivated in the province for centuries. Leveraging Ontario's ideal climate and clean water with precise farming methods, Ontario growers have successfully brought about the quality and active chemical composition that make North American ginseng the most potent in the world. Traditionally valued for promoting longevity, North American ginseng has been proven in scientific studies to be effective for diabetes, flu and colds, and memory disorders. Anecdotal evidence points to therapeutic benefits of ginseng for boosting immunity, increasing libido, cardiovascular protection and the management of cancer and HIV. Considering its wide applicability, it has become important to protect consumers from illicit traders putting inferior ginseng products on the market. In response, the Ontario Ginseng Growers Association (OGGA) has created the Running Root seal. This seal certifies from the OGGA that the shipment contains only North American ginseng grown in Ontario by an OGGA member that is compliant with global health and safety standards. Further quality and assurance initiatives include the development of portable gas chromatography organic signature technology that authenticates Ontario ginseng from other species and origins. A non-profit organisation and government regulated, OGGA has been at the forefront of establishing quality standards for ginseng farming. With 130 Ontario ginseng growers as active members, it has led independent research into the benefits of ginseng and product development in Canada. As the largest organised ginseng farmer association, the OGGA is recognised as an industry authority worldwide. "It is important for people to know if they want pure, potent and safe ginseng, it has to come from Ontario, Canada. It will always come from the original country of origin," says Carl Atkinson, vice-chairman of OGGA. OGGA has taken measures to stay connected to ginseng buyers and consumers in Asia, where 90 per cent of Ontario's ginseng production is shipped annually. The OGGA multilingual website provides recipes and information on where consumers can locate stores selling Ontario-grown ginseng. Commercial buyers and importers can also find information for contacting OGGA growers directly to source the product. "We continue to listen and communicate with consumers and retailers that buy our product and provide them assurance that they are getting the highest-quality North American ginseng in the world," says Marvin Karges, OGGA executive director.