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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Wausau Marathon 2016

Saturday August 20th, 2016, marks the 5th annual Wausau Marathon in Wausau, WI.

The importance of this race can’t be stressed enough as it serves as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon in April of 2017.  Runners from all over the country, even the World, participate in the Wausau Marathon because it has that small-town atmosphere yet is serious enough to advance runners to other marathons across the United States.  The featured runs are the full marathon, the half marathon, a 5K (3.1 mile run), and the Kid’s Fun Run.


Since most runners are exhausted and starving by the end of their 26.2 mile endeavor, Hsu’s involvement in the marathon expands to offering each runner, staff member, and volunteer a gift of our Ginseng Granola, Gin-Max, and a discount on a future purchase.  We believe the granola would be a favorable snack after the race, before everyone starts slamming burgers and beers that is.

If you haven’t already signed up for the Wausau Marathon or the affiliated races, you can register here.

Last year, Brendan Thielsen took first place with an elapsed time of 2 hours, 53 minutes, and 28 seconds, which believe it or not was actually faster than some of the half marathon runners at a 6 minute and 40 second per mile pace.  So if you are a running enthusiast, or you’re just in need of some action on August 20th, head to Marathon Park around 7:00 AM.

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The Grant

On Thursday, July 14th, 2016, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism granted the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival committee, led by head organizer Lisa Berry, a lump sum of nearly $40,000 to facilitate all of the activities planned for the upcoming festival in September 2017.

The grant will help cover the costs of transportation, use of products from the affiliated ginseng companies, such as ourselves, and the use of facilities such as the Monk Botanical Gardens here in Wausau, WI.

Will Hsu hosted the grant ceremony with about thirty attendees at our ginseng gardens on the outskirts of Wausau, WI.  He was interviewed by WAOW TV 9 (ABC) on a few quick facts about ginseng and also what the festival means to him as the largest exporter of American Ginseng in the U.S.

gin grant enhanced

Accepting the grant check at our gardens in Wausau, WI

“Let’s not just think about the international aspect of this festival, but also the Chinese-American consumers here in the United States that will be traveling from California, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Texas, and other pockets of the United States where immigrants have settled here over the last one hundred to two hundred years and are still consumers of this product to this day.” – Hsu said.

The amount of work and effort going into the festival is sure to give everyone  who attends something to remember about Wisconsin tourism, agriculture, and way-of-life.

For more information on the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival you can visit their website here.

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Hsu’s Ginseng Tours


From Friday, July 22nd:

Paul Hsu himself hosted a high school tour group from Zhangjiagang China.  Starting off with a group lunch, the group was treated to a full showing of our gardens and facilities.

group Wisconsin ginseng American ginseng root tour ginseng garden health supplements


From Thursday, July 14th:

The Knabenmusik Group from Switzerland joined us in the fields on their tri-State tour through Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

swiss tour

From Friday, July 7th:

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Ginseng and Straw, Lifelong Friends

60 semi loads.  That’s how much straw we will go through as we are finishing up our planting season.  The piles of straw bales form a mountain aside our fields as our modified shredders distribute them over the terrain.  Groups of workers led by Nick Sandquist, Farm Manager, send whole large bales through our shredders and plaster our gardens with a thick layer of straw.  The ginseng root itself is so susceptible to the elements that without the protective straw, our yields would simply plummet to pre-World War II capacity.

straw pile

Mount Straw – a mere fraction of the straw we go through during our planting season.

Groups of workers rake the straw with pitchforks to spread the straw evenly so that the seeds are well-hidden from wild turkeys, yet not too deep so that next year the plants can emerge from the ground.  The straw will remain there through the entirety of the plant’s life cycle.  It fills several needs:  protection from the elements of rain, ice, snow, and even wind; shields our ginseng from turkeys, slugs, and other creatures we run into in the fields; protects the root itself from additives applied to the plant that protects it from invasive pests and fungi.

straw spreading

Straw is applied with our customized shredding machines that can fit under our shaded cloths.

After the straw is evenly distributed by hand over the raised beds, we can begin to stretch our shaded cloth over the garden.  Shaded cloth is an upgrade over traditional wooden sections because it gives us more control of the drainage during heavy rains and it is consistently blocking out 78% to 82% of the sunlight at all times.  The shade structure is removed around our harvest season in October so our plants may go dormant.  None of this would even be possible though, if we did not have our straw.


This is what our garden will look like one year from the planting date.

You can watch the latest video of spreading straw here.

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Functional Food and Ginseng

Hsu’s breakthrough project of providing healthy snacks and foods is well underway. The project set forth mid-2015 to expand the product line from supplements and whole root packages to offering our customers more food-inspired items.

Initially, the project began as a granola blend that contained our own ginseng, and after several trials and modifications to the formula, Ginseng Granola is nearing it’s final stages of development. We hope to expand the initial formula into a line that features other great Wisconsin-based products, such as real Wisconsin maple syrup, and real Wisconsin cranberries.

Ginseng Granola with its expandable options.  Depending on its initial success we hope to expand even further the possibilities for this breakthrough product.

Another well-received endeavor comes from the hands of Meister Cheese Company from Muscoda, WI.  Nearly a year ago we sourced them a form of ginseng similar to what we use in our American Ginseng Candy and now our Ginseng Granola.  As it stands today, their crafting was masterful and we will soon see the full unveiling of their newest product:  Ginseng and Garlic Jack Cheese.  The reception it received among Hsu employees was nothing short of great and we look forward to seeing this product flourish.  Like Ginseng Granola, their Ginseng and Garlic Jack Cheese is nearing it’s end of development, so you won’t be able to see it in stores quite yet, however it’s worth checking into occasionally.  More of what Meister Cheese Company does as a professional cheese maker can be found on their website.


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We Are Hsu’s

We Are Hsu’s  Hsu’s Ginseng Enterprise, Inc. has evolved dramatically over the past 43 years.  Initially a mail-order service for Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants, it has since expanded to being a World leader in providing the highest quality Wisconsin-grown American ginseng with a high-profile eCommerce presence and direct ordering services in the U.S. and China.  Its evolution is accredited to its foundation of family in business.  In more than one area of the business, we enjoy having second-generation employees continue to grow in our company culture.  You can see the business developing not only as a family business, but more so into a business family.  Join Paul Hsu, and his son Will Hsu, in seeing a modern-day profile of our business and our commitment to quality.


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From left to right, Sharon Hsu, Paul Hsu, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and Will Hsu at the grand opening of our new facility in Wausau, WI, where various farm and compost operations are held.