Ginseng and.. Beer?


With the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival quickly approaching, local ginseng companies in Marathon County are gearing up for a weekend of celebrating the historic plant that heavily contributes to Wisconsin’s economy and export market. That means we should be seeing some interesting creations as growers are pairing up with other local venues. Some rumors indulge the idea of a vodka fused with ginseng, others have ice cream with ginseng, but we can assert that one of those rumors to be true right now — ginseng and beer.


The International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival (IWGF) is the first event of its kind and will attract thousands of visitors from around the world. Hotels and travel accommodations are filling fast.

Hsu’s is partnering with Bull Falls Brewery, located near Wausau’s downtown and Riverfront districts, to engineer a special ginseng brew for the festival. The new brew will be a limited-time run for both companies as the fresh ginseng from the Hsu farm is only available for a few months out of the year. While this isn’t the first time a brewery took on ginseng as a constituent, this particular brew is the birthright of two Wausau, Wisconsin-based companies. Two (of many) things that Wisconsin knows best: beer, and ginseng.

Will it be a lager, an ale, a stout, a wheat, bock, pilsner, or even a malt? Stay tuned for more as we will follow up on this story again this summer.

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Ginseng Spans the Globe, but Some Stays Here


Marathon County, the largest county in Wisconsin, is home to nearly 150 ginseng growers raising about 700,000 pounds of ginseng every year in an area that comprises a microcosm of the county’s available land. Almost 80% of that annual crop will jump ship to China.  But then where does the other 20% go?


First it should be known, for those who are new to ginseng in general, that although ginseng has been cultivated in North America since about 1904, it has been quietly growing around the North 45th parallel marker for thousands of years. Discovered in China, it became a pillar of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a top tier herb and is still widely used today, here and abroad. Used mainly for its energizing and restorative properties, ginseng’s mystique is something that is catching on in Western culture.

As a finished product, most of that 20% ends up in China towns across the country, with Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City being the largest recipients. Hsu’s US branches service all three of the cities mentioned, as well as Houston, TX and New York, NY. Demand for clean, potent American ginseng dictates the pricing for the higher valued Wisconsin variety because Wisconsin soil is low in metal count and nearly devoid of harmful microbial bacteria, which is why Hsu’s also maintains a presence in Ontario and Vancouver, Canada, even though Canada has an output of nearly 2 million pounds per year.

Canada began sourcing American ginseng seeds by the ton when the Canadian government heavily subsidized ginseng operations after watching their US counterparts take advantage of the niche trade.  Although the influx of subsidized Canadian growers flooded the markets and caused a crash around the turn of the millennium, American Ginseng from Wisconsin held its value over a ten year rebound.

Ginseng as an ingredient

Bulk ginseng products constitute a fair portion of that 20% of the ginseng that stays within the US. Our bulk powders are found in supplements, foods, soda, and beer. As functional foods are still on the rise many companies are seeing the value in adding American ginseng to their products. Specifications on ginseng are more articulate than many of the common foods you can find in the produce section of the grocery store, and therein lies the challenge of meeting those requirements.

Manufacturers of food and supplements are intrigued by ginseng’s potential as a beneficial substance, more so now than ever due to the large Chinese demographic on the West Coast and in scattered areas across mainland United States. With more ginseng proponents emigrating here to the U.S. and a growing 2nd and 3rd generation demographic on the rise, the likelihood of more American ginseng staying in America grows.

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DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

許氏養生特約專欄 – 女人如何用花旗參來打造天然無瑕蘋果肌?

By 藥上堂 Charlotte Duh 杜丞蕓中醫師












杜丞蕓 中醫師Charlotte Duh, L.Ac.


來自台灣,活躍於美國華文媒體的杜醫師,在洛杉磯看診已十三年。在美創辦了Medi Yoga Clinic『藥上堂中醫診所』,Medi Yoga『琉璃瑜伽學苑』,Meal 4 Mom『杜仲月子養生餐』,DrD Herb『杜草藥鋪』網站商店,和Medi Herb USA 『藥上堂』養生中藥專賣鋪。

杜醫師專精內婦兒科,提倡預防養生中醫,食療藥膳先於未病。 小兒調理,青少年轉骨,月經失調,懷孕養胎,月子調理,皆可以用天然藥材調理而無副作用。另外如美容瘦身,季節過敏,腸胃紊亂,慢性疲勞等,杜醫師也是鼓勵少針少藥,先以自然食療方式為宜。

曾接受東森美洲電視台,美國鳳凰電視台,中天,天下等多家華文電視台的新聞採訪及電視座談。和東森美洲電視購物台有合作商品『轉骨方/益乳茶/藥膳系列』,於美國鳳凰電視台『養兒育女』節目中主持藥膳示範, 在台灣的Wow Woman 網站有專欄著作。




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老許談參 – 金雞報喜 2017威州國際花旗參節

轉眼間又到了新的一年,中國習俗中雞年因為象徵”吉祥”,所以相當喜氣。從今算起300年前,也就是1717年,剛好是美國野山參外銷去廣州的紀念年。而300年後的今年對美國花旗參產業來說,也絕對是重要的一年,因為今年9月15-17日許氏將和威州州政府一同舉辦首屆威州國際花旗參節。而地點就選在花旗參的故鄉~威斯康辛州沃沙市舉辦,而許氏則是扮演相當重要的協辦角色, 因為許氏為美加首家專職種植花旗參的華人公司,同時也是最大的花旗參自產自銷企業,具有非常重要的代表性。此花旗參國際大展,在美國是第一次舉辦,史無前例。許氏將偕同主辦單位威州州政府、與沃沙市觀光局一起合作,聯合舉辦展覽。現場除了可以提供各種花旗參相關產品試吃與銷售,還有各種參田旅遊觀光解說導覽,趨時遊客將會從世界各地齊聚一堂,一同參與活動,把美國最好的威州地道花旗參推廣到全世界。欲知更多展覽詳情,可上威州國際花旗參節主辦單位網站查詢。



野山參的生長對環境要求十分嚴格,自然條件,植被條件,林象條件,林地條件以及其他特殊的條件:如空氣、土壤、溫度、光照、水分等等都必須具備其生長要求,否則,野山參很難存活。野山參通常生長在冰冷地區,位於美洲的中部和東北方丘陵地區。因為野山參不喜光,所以多生長於陰涼的森林深處的陰濕地帶。野山參通常要參齡十年以上,而參齡愈長,價格愈高。三十至五十年的野山參已非常稀少,而能到達百年以上的野山參,可謂是鳳毛麟角,極致珍稀(見下圖,為許氏百年珍稀正野山參,為鎮店之寶)。野山參體質輕盈,參面橫紋顯著,人參皂甙含量約是人工參的數倍,依參齡而倍增。其味苦回甘屬溫補,具有強心、安神、補氣、回元等頂級功效,實為極致尊貴、四季皆宜的上等藥品及滋補品。尤其近五年來,中國用野山參來治­­­”三高”的人越來越多。野山參也常見用於輔助癌症患者的治療。癌症患者接受化療後,可用野參來恢復精力、增強免疫力或防止白血球減低等化療副作用。美國著名的醫學研究中心Meyo Clinic對此也做過科學研究,發表了花旗參能幫助癌症化療病人有效恢復體力的醫學實驗報告。(來自Wisconsin Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) to Improve Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Randomized, Double-Blind Trial,發表者Debra L. Barton, R.N., Ph.D)


















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Aftermath: Natural Products Expo East

Baltimore, MD

Booth 5330 at the Natural Products Expo East was well-represented at the large-scale convention in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  Each year Hsu’s sets up for three days of meetings, educating consumers, and learning more about the scope of the Natural Products industry.

Of the many reasons to attend a trade show of this magnitude, the most important is exposure.  Depending on the show, the potential for visitors nears the tens of thousands.  Two symbols that grab the attention of passers-by are the Something Special From Wisconsin logo that we feature on many of our products, and our Hsu’s Root to Health logo.  Sometimes, we run into someone who is, or was, from Wisconsin and then we get into a conversation about beer, cheese, or the Packers and we feel right at home.

We quickly learned from our past experiences that the Natural Products industry has some good eggs, but also maybe a few cracked eggs too.  I for one learned my lesson last year when I got somewhat sick from eating off of each exhibitor’s counter.  Our advice to new exhibitors and visitors is to stay disciplined and try new products sparingly.


High volume of traffic at Baltimore’s Natural Products Expo East

One thing we realized at last year’s expo was that a gap exists between the Eastern (Asian) and Western (U.S. and Europe’s) outlook on ginseng.  To bridge that gap is to essentially identify an international customer.  More specifically, it means tailoring to both Eastern and Western values simultaneously.  The world is getting smaller and our online presence is continuously being revamped and reevaluated to fit our global needs.  The addition of Hsu’s Amazon page is one way we can stay current.  Our trips to Expo West in Anaheim give us the insight into a broadened demographic with the large Chinese population on the West Coast.

The scope of competitors we find at the show typically doesn’t vary outside of Korean ginseng companies, but even they do not always travel to Expo East because of the lack of an Asian demographic on the East coast as opposed to the West.  This year we had the second American ginseng company join the Expo, the Ginseng Herb & Coop from Marathon, WI, along with a representative from the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin.

Brand identity is very important to all of the exhibitors because for every category of product there could be up to fifty or more competitors or like-minded businesses competing for the same pool of consumers.  At Expo East, one can see a lot of similarities in brand strategy, aura, and even product likeness among vendors.

The most volatile yet buzz-generating section is most always the food/confectionery aisles where vendors are displaying their organic cookies, smoothies, candies, and even finished pizzas, tacos, and much more.  Another pro-tip we have is to remember that even if something is labeled as organic, certified organic, all-natural, etc., do your research on the products, consult your physician, and know what you are putting in your body.  Non-dairy products almost always contain nut products such as cashews and coconut and the amount of children and even adults in the United States that suffer from food allergies is overwhelming.

We prepare for the Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas starting on Thursday, October 6th by shifting focus to our ingredient division.  Hsu’s supplies many large-scale operations with clean and potent American and Asian ginseng powders and powdered extracts for private-label use.  Our ginseng is found in supplements, liquid extracts, and even a beer or two.

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許氏養生特約專欄 – 藥上堂杜醫生談花旗參




  1. 上班族使用電腦時間過長,到了下午開始兩眼酸澀,口乾舌燥,煩悶出虛汗。
  2. 高階主管用腦過多,衝成績拼事業,到了晚覺時間異常清醒,躺下了也睡不著。
  3. 中年婦女進入前更年期,偶有潮熱盜汗,心情憂鬱,但尚未停經。
  4. 小孩子學習專注力不佳,讀書時老是喊累想睡覺,打電動時卻又興致勃勃。














杜丞蕓 中醫師Charlotte Duh, L.Ac.


來自台灣,活躍於美國華文媒體的杜醫師,在洛杉磯看診已十三年。在美創辦了Medi Yoga Clinic『藥上堂中醫診所』,Medi Yoga『琉璃瑜伽學苑』,Meal 4 Mom『杜仲月子養生餐』,DrD Herb『杜草藥鋪』網站商店,和Medi Herb USA 『藥上堂』養生中藥專賣鋪。

杜醫師專精內婦兒科,提倡預防養生中醫,食療藥膳先於未病。 小兒調理,青少年轉骨,月經失調,懷孕養胎,月子調理,皆可以用天然藥材調理而無副作用。另外如美容瘦身,季節過敏,腸胃紊亂,慢性疲勞等,杜醫師也是鼓勵少針少藥,先以自然食療方式為宜。

曾接受東森美洲電視台,美國鳳凰電視台,中天,天下等多家華文電視台的新聞採訪及電視座談。和東森美洲電視購物台有合作商品『轉骨方/益乳茶/藥膳系列』,於美國鳳凰電視台『養兒育女』節目中主持藥膳示範, 在台灣的Wow Woman 網站有專欄著作。





Wechat: DrHerb

Line: CharlotteDuh

Brief: Wild Ginseng

September 1st marks the beginning of the Wild Ginseng season in Wisconsin. Each State is allowed to set its own parameters for length of season, but since ginseng is most potent after August the trend is roughly the same across the country. Also, with Wild American Ginseng being listed as endangered, the season does not typically last more than two months.

Already, Hsu’s has seen its fair share of Wild Ginseng hunters bringing their fresh finds in exchange for hard-earned money. With the season being short, and the value of Wild Ginseng being as high as it is, thousands of people across the country are searching through anything that remotely resembles a forest.


Kaitlyn Backhaus (left) and the Wisconsin DNR representative auditing the Wild Ginseng brought in by various hunters.  Pound for pound they must be inspected for the State’s records.

In its natural habitat on the forest floor, ginseng is able to sustain itself for many years and gain considerable potency as it ages. The only way to estimate Wild Ginseng’s age is to count the ‘rings’ that appear on top of the root. Those rings are actually the lifeline of the root, and if the original root dies, the lifeline, known commonly as the ‘mother root’, will spawn a new root in its place. If a root sustains a series of harsh winters and conversely a series of favorable winters the lifeline will expand and contract based on its conditions under the surface. The fluctuation of size found throughout the lifeline is how we determine the root’s age and thus will eventually be separated by age and size for its use as a finished product.

Rumors of 100-year-old roots are not uncommon, as we may have one of our own. However such an anomaly is something few hunters will witness within their lifetime. Given the amount of Wild Ginseng harvested every year, the days of finding a root of that caliber and age may be over, especially for future generations. That is why the cultivation of American ginseng may become more important than ever in the next few decades.


EST. 100-Year-Old Wild Ginseng Root.  Found by Hsu’s founder and President Paul C.Hsu, east of Wausau, WI


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Berries – Field and Forest


Late August is a special time for ginseng growers in Marathon County, WI. The arrival of the ginseng plant’s berries is a sign that the harvest season draws near, and simultaneously thousands of Wild Ginseng hunters are scouring the woods across the nation for the most valuable ginseng in the world.

In our fields, groups of workers are beginning to manually pluck those berry clusters from the plants and collect them in their baskets.  From there, they will be transported to our new farm facility which is the hub for creating seeds and sending them through the stratification process.  Each berry contains up to two seeds, and a mature ginseng plant may yield between twenty and thirty seeds every year. Through stratification, we are able to store our seeds throughout the entire winter so they can be used for next year’s planting season starting in July.

Harvesting berries to create a seed stock is important for two reasons:  we are able to maintain our own stock for future harvests, as well as offer our seeds to aspiring ginseng growers around the nation; and, when the berry cluster matures and is harvested, the potency of the root increases as the plant is signaled to send its resources downward.  For that reason ginseng farmers in Marathon County will wait until the end of September to harvest.

For Wild Ginseng hunters, the arrival of ginseng berries makes the search significantly easier. In the viridescent forests of Wisconsin, the bright red clusters are far more telling of the presence of ginseng than the plant’s other physical characteristics.  Hunters have a fairly small window of opportunity to find, dig, clean, and sell their Wild Ginseng (legally).

But for some, finding it is over half of the battle.  In Wisconsin, places like the city of LaCrosse and many towns along the Mississippi River in Southwest Wisconsin are still the leading areas where hunters can still find ginseng in its natural state.  Outside of Wisconsin, the most abundant source of Wild Ginseng is the Appalachian Mountains in an area that span from New York to South Carolina.  There, hunters and poachers alike take part in the fast-paced and often lucrative Wild Ginseng hunt.

Certain social blights have marred the U.S.’s Wild Ginseng trade’s reputation in recent years.  In the opening week of Wild season in 2015, a North Carolina farmer reported that over $6000 worth of Wild Ginseng was stolen from his property.  It is a situation encouraged by over-dramatized reality TV shows such as ‘Appalachian Outlaws’ and will likely continue as the price of Wild Ginseng per pound remains high.

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