When Li Kui Meets Li Gui Part 2: How to Identify True and False Wisconsin American Ginseng (American Ginseng)

Panax Quinquefolium, generally referred to as American Ginseng, Weizhou ginseng farmers call it "Shang", which is pronounced very close to "ginseng". 

American ginseng: In order to distinguish American ginseng from the United States and Canada, ginseng originating from the United States is now classified as American ginseng. Furthermore, American ginseng grown in Canada from American seeds is also called American ginseng.

As the saying goes, you are not afraid of not knowing the goods, but you are afraid of comparing goods. Today, I will make a comparison between American ginseng produced in Wisconsin, and ginseng produced in China and Canada. 

Looking, smelling, asking, and feeling is the method of diagnosis in traditional Chinese medicine. To determine whether American ginseng is real or fake, we need to use the three methods of "looking, smelling and eating" to identify it. These indicators must be combined together to be more accurate. The difference cannot be completely denied.

Summary of the characteristics of Wisconsin American ginseng: it looks too old; it smells too fragrant, and it tastes too bitter.

The details are as follows:

1. Looking too old: First, there are too many and too deep wrinkles. There are both horizontal lines, like growth rings, and vertical lines (large wrinkles). The vertical lines are the result of water loss after being refrigerated and dried in the shade. The purpose is to let the starch Saccharification produces a strong taste that is first bitter and then sweet (returning to sweetness). The second is that the color is dark, mainly because the soil in the Weizhou ginseng production area is fertile and black, and a thin layer of fine soil is generally retained during processing. The combination of the two looks particularly old and ugly, while Canadian and Chinese ginseng are generally very clean, mostly light yellow in color (the latter is whiter), with a smooth surface. They look beautiful but have a poor aftertaste.

2. It smells too good: How fragrant is it? A pound of new ginseng has a fragrant aroma when you open the package (9 out of 10). When you open it, the aroma fills your house and is so fragrant that you can't sleep.

3. It tastes too bitter: the taste is called "The Bite" by local ginseng farmers. Fresh ginseng from Weizhou tastes a little sweet and the sweetness is not very strong, but after being refrigerated and dried, the taste is mainly bitter. Test method: Take a small piece of ginseng branch, chew it and then swallow it. If it is bitter, you will feel like vomiting, and there will be a strong sweetness (first bitter and then sweet). Because saliva secretion increases (producing saliva), the bitter taste is diluted. You can give it a full score of ten or nine (a score of one means it has no taste, and it is very bitter and makes you vomit).

Only a few venues in Weizhou do not use refrigeration, but rely on the weather to naturally cool down. Canada is a minority, and China has just started to do it.

The picture below compares American ginseng from China (left, fake Wisconsin ginseng from an online merchant in the United States), Canada (center, sample from Ontario), and Monk Garden (right) at Monk Ginseng Farm in Wisconsin. The color of the photo taken and the display screen will affect your observation. This color is a bit lighter than the actual product.

Chinese ginseng (left in the picture, from Northeast China) also has three characteristics: it looks smooth, smells slightly fragrant, and tastes sweet when eaten. Note that the surface is very smooth, and the color is yellowish white. There are not many nor deep horizontal lines, and there are no vertical lines, which means there is no cold treatment and shade drying process, and there is no sweetness.

The three characteristics of Canada ginseng (middle of the picture) are as follows: it looks beautiful (light yellow, plump), smells fragrant (six points out of ten), tastes quite bitter (sixty-seven points out of ten), and has a sweet taste. Few and short. It looks beautiful because it is generally large and plump, light yellow in color, with more horizontal lines and sometimes vertical lines (some merchants also do cold treatment and shade drying). Its taste is far less bitter than that of Weizhou. It smells a little fragrant, but it doesn't match the strange fragrance of Weizhou.

The above introduction is a simple feature from China and Canada. You might as well take a look at the picture and do a test yourself to see the difference between Li Gui and Li Kui. If it doesn't work, I can only take a bite to compare. Need standard samples? I'll send you a private message.

Mastering the stick, but aiming for the yard. Now Li Gui is also improving his skills and studying for a doctorate or postdoctoral degree. It is said that domestic merchants have reached the level of proficiency and can process according to the requirements of buyers. Need a round ginseng (Buddha head)? , no problem, just heat and squeeze with the mold. Dislike the lack of texture? After heating, another process is added before forming, and the silk thread is tied in a few passes. The color is too white? Potassium permanganate treatment. No vertical lines? Building a cold storage also provides cold treatment. Since Li Gui is so serious and has put in so much effort, why doesn't he use his own brand? The desire for profit attacks the heart. But it is ever-changing, and what changes is its appearance. It’s hard to change the strong aroma and sweetness of Weizhou ginseng. There are actually not many Wisconsin ginseng left in the market, including mainland China and the United States. Li Gui far surpasses Li Kui. The authenticity depends on your sharp eyes.

Postscript: A few friends discussed the matter of Weizhou Ginseng. The three indicators should be considered uniformly. Sometimes the color may be lighter if it is washed too much during processing. The taste is the most accurate, but samples are needed for comparison. It is difficult to become an expert after reading this blog. You need to observe more and compare to identify.
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