American ginseng is a plant native to Wisconsin, and for generations Indians harvested its roots for their medicinal properties.
By the 1840s, colonial settlers acquired the practice and Wisconsin ginseng soon became a top export. Over the next 100 years, almost all of the wild ginseng in the state was sold to China. Following a 1905 blight and over-harvesting, four Wisconsin brothers – Walter, Edward, John and Henry Fromm – mastered a new approach to ginseng cultivation and by 1919 became leaders of the industry.
Today Wisconsin ginseng farmers account for 95% of cultivated American ginseng production in the United States.
– Margaret Willard, The 100 Companies