I have been hunting Ginseng for many years - started back in highschool (graduated in 1979) and continue to do so today.
Over the years I have used a variety of diggers ranging from a sharpened stick (say if found a patch while out squirrel hunting) - - - to a screwdriver if nothing better was easily available. I have used small short handled grubbing hoe type tools which worked very well.
The past 5 years or so I have been using a old grubbing hoe type head with a 36" hickory handle.
The head is fairly light (but STRONG) and has a 1.5" x 5.25" blade on one side, and a 3" x 5.25" blade on the other.
The longer handle works nicely - I can dig most roots out without even bending over much and as long as you start digging out a few inches to the side or behind the root you can get the entire root system out with no damage.
The longer handle also works nicely as a walking stick - helps to get around on those steeper hillsides. It also works nicely on the occasional Tennessee Timber Rattler or Copperhead.
I am including a couple of pics attached so you can check it out.
Would be interested in hearing what some of you other seasoned diggers are using to extract that green gold.