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American ginseng’s Wisconsin roots

by Jan Schroder

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

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