Step aside, cheese! Wisconsin ginseng is shattering records

Step aside, cheese! Wisconsin ginseng is shattering records

Credit: Ag Update

By Christina Lorey

March 13, 2024

Most people know Wisconsin for its cheese–we are the Dairy State, after all. And while we produce 26% of America’s cheese (the most of any state), we’re also the number one producer of the culinary and medicinal root ginseng.

Nearly 100% (95%) of the country’s commercially-grown ginseng comes from Wisconsin and is shipped around the world. Wisconsin ginseng is especially prized in Asia, where it has been coveted for thousands of years as an herbal panacea, allegedly improving brain function while reducing stress.

☕️ What is Ginseng? From the Chinese word ren-shen, or “man root,” ginseng is a short, slow-growing plant that resembles the legs of a man. It has a light-colored, fork-shaped root, a relatively long stalk, and green, oval-shaped leaves. 

☕️ What does it do? People take ginseng to help with a range of medical conditions. While there’s no widespread, conclusive evidence of its effectiveness, ginseng is frequently used to reduce inflammation, as well as to boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce stress, promote relaxation, treat diabetes, and help manage sexual dysfunction in men.

MORE: 7 Proven Health Benefits of Ginseng

☕️ How do you consume it? The most common way to use ginseng is to boil or steam the root to make tea. Boil it twice, and the root is good to eat. It’s also good in soup. But you don’t want to overdo it: ingesting large amounts can trigger side effects like heart palpitations, confusion, headaches, and sleep problems. Here are a few safety tips to follow.

RELATED: Easy Ginseng Root Recipes

☕️ Why Wisconsin? It’s a long story. American ginseng has been grown commercially in the Badger State for more than 100 years and requires a lot of practice, patience, and precision. Click here to learn how Wisconsin became a ginseng powerhouse.

You can also grow ginseng at home. Here’s a step-by-step guide!

YOU MIGHT LIKE: 6 Can’t-Miss Chinese Restaurants in Wisconsin


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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