Gold Root (scientific name: Heliopsis longipes) comes from an uncommon species of flowering plant belonging to the sunflower family. This plant has only been found in on small region of the world – north-central Mexico. Found in the states of Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, and Querétaro, this temperamental plant exists nowhere else.
People have tried to cultivate it elsewhere without success. Some attempts yielded lower potency, while others failed entirely. This sensitive plant is much like wine in that it requires a semi-arid climate with good drainage and cool winds that bring in fog and morning dew in order to thrive.
Gold Root has an unusually long growing time, approximately 3 years to achieve maximum strength, and for having such a long growing period renders a small yield. For this reason many growers harvest early, reducing the potency significantly and causing unpleasant foam to appear. This bitter foam is a sign the plant was immature at the time of harvest.
Another common shortcut used by impatient growers is to include the whole plant in their products, rather than the pure root, as their products claim. By using the whole plant, producers triple their yield. However, they reduce purity by two-thirds. Additionally, tap water instead of purified water may be used in some cases. Some growers subject their plants to chemical fertilizers and products to increase yield as well.