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October 10, 2022 5 min read

What's old is new again.  Ancient medicine's star - Wisconsin ginseng - happens to be one of the hottest ingredient in hair care.  Find out why.

We love Wisconsin Ginseng so much that we use it in our bestselling ANTIDOTE Ginseng Shampoo and Conditioner – a great everyday duo to restore moisture, stimulate follicles for hair growth, and add hair shine. If you are new to Ginseng, read on. We think that you’ll fall in love as much as we have, especially for Wisconsin-grown ginseng.

Ginseng has been a staple of Eastern medicine for thousands of years because it works. Whether as something to eat and drink, or as something to put on the skin, ginseng roots contain many restorative ingredients like essential oils, vitamins, and fatty acids. What makes ginseng special, though, are its ginsenosides. According to a team of researchers led by Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s Mengmeng Zheng, “Ginsenosides have unique biological activity and medicinal value, such as antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidation.”  

Ginseng Benefits for Hair

Because healthy hair starts with happy follicles, ginseng’s benefits for hair start with how it affects our skin and scalp.

Healthline’s Beth Ann Mayer’s article “Ginseng Benefits for Skin” explains some of the benefits of Ginseng on skin:

  • reducing wrinkles and signs of aging
  • promoting elasticity and collagen production
  • reducing puffiness and inflammation

Collagen is Key. According to WebMDCollagen is a protein responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity, or stretchiness. It's in your bones, muscles, and blood, comprising three quarters of your skin and a third of the protein in your body. As you age, your existing collagen breaks down, and it gets harder for your body to produce more.”

On ginseng and collagen, Healthline’s Beth Ann explains, “Collagen loss begins in your 20s and 30s, though you don’t always see the effects until later…. ginseng can help slow the loss of collagen, helping the skin retain elasticity…. Natural chemicals in ginseng lead to increased circulation and oxygen and a boost in skin’s collagen production.”

Ginseng and Hair Growth

In her Healthline article, Beth Ann interviewed wellness expert, Dr. Jenelle Kim, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine and Nationally Board Certified in Herbology, Oriental Medicine, and Acupuncture.

Dr. Kim notes that “in Eastern medicine, the hair and skin are both considered extensions of blood circulation. That’s why your hair is [fuller] during pregnancy. When [ginseng] increases circulation, it can help everything.”

In a 2018 study by Young Choi of the Department of Pharmaceutical Science and Engineering, Seowon University called “Hair-Growth Potential of Ginseng, explainsThe promotion of hair growth and prevention of hair loss by ginseng and its metabolites are associated with the induction of anagen and delaying of catagen phases.”  And thus, while there is not enough evidence to say that ginseng prevents hair loss, research indicates that it is possible to say that ginseng stimulates hair growth.

Why Wisconsin Ginseng?

Did you know…

  • Wisconsin ginseng is considered the best in the world thanks to the unique soil and weather conditions in central Wisconsin.
  • ANTIDOTE works directly with family farms dedicated to growing premium quality American ginseng in a sustainable way.
  • In a Mayo Clinic study, Wisconsin ginseng reduced fatigue in cancer patients.

Ginseng is native to Wisconsin. It is the climate and soil that allows Wisconsin ginseng to thrive here. For the highest quality roots,ginseng requires 75% shade, cool summers, and cold winters. Central Wisconsin delivers these regularly with 2 feet of snow and 2 feet of frost. Ginseng roots are vulnerable to fungus and these conditions protect them.

Ginseng roots are coveted for their healthful ginsenosides. Revered for millennia for its cooling properties “Yin”, regular ginseng use boosts the immune system, stimulates circulation, and reduces inflammation. A 2012 Mayo Clinic study showed that ginseng reduced fatigue in cancer patients when taken over an 8-week period. An important note is that Ginseng doesn’t deliver an instant hit, it requires regular use to experience its benefits.

Every year, Ginseng farmers invest an average of $20,000 per acre and 600 hours of labor to nuture their plants.  All this, with no return until the 3rd or 4th year.

Where does ANTIDOTE’s Ginseng come from?

Wisconsin ginseng cultivation comes down to 185 growers who manage nearly 2,000 acres. Dave Schumacher, VP of Ginseng Board of WI calls ginseng, “Wisconsin’s most unique crop.” He explains that seeds take 18 months to germinate. In summer, ginseng plants produce beautiful red berries. In the fall, these are collected by hand and placed in wet sand for 1 year, then planted in fall, to sprout the following spring. 

One of our partner farms explains the planting process in more detail, “American ginseng seeds require cold stratification before they are able to germinate.  Cold stratification is the process of exposing the seeds to cold and moist winter conditions.  This softens the seed coating and triggers the seed's embryo to grow.  Since ginseng seeds are typically sold after they have already been stratified, it is important to get them into the ground before the end of the planting season in the same year that the seeds are purchased.  Stratified seeds will begin to germinate whether or not they are planted.  The seeds cannot be stored and planted during the following season.”

Farmers nurture ginseng plants for 3-4 years, which is when the roots, full of active ginsenosides, are mature enough to be harvested.

We are proud that our ginseng is grown on family farms in central WI. Once harvested, our roots are dried, turned into powder, which is then added to our shampoo and conditioner formulas.

Because we buy direct from family farms we know a lot about the ginseng we use and are able to pass on savings to you. 

Looking for an easy way to incorporate ginseng into your everyday hair routine? 

Try ANTIDOTE Ginseng Shampoo and Conditioner!  

  • Restore moisture
  • Improve scalp and follicle health
  • Stimulating grapefruit essential oil scent

As always, ingredients are the best part of ANTIDOTE 1848. In addition to Wiscsonins ginseng,  you’ll find lots of:

The shampoo uses a 4-part coconut based cleanser that is gentle but effective. It is less irritating and can’t dry your scalp the way traditional sulfate shampoos do.

The conditioner uses shea butter  that won’t weigh hair down.

These formulas are green rated by the Environmental Working Group, an independent consumer advocacy group. Green ratings let you know that these products meet the highest standards of safety for you and the environment.

ANTIDOTE Shampoos are easy to use... We recommend brushing hair before washing to stimulate blood flow and exfoliate the scalp. Shake shampoo well to make sure that you get a good dose of those great plant-based ingredients.  Apply to wet hair and work from the roots out. Rinse.  

Pro tip: When using any sulfate free shampoo, make sure that your hair is super wet.  ANTIDOTE formulas are concentrated and needs water to activate the cleansing process.

After shampooing, apply conditioner to damp hair for 2-5 minutes. Rinse with cool water to close the hair cuticle. A small amount can be used as a leave-in conditioner.

And ANTIDOTE Ginseng Shampoo is gentle enough to use as a body wash, too!

Are you in love with Wisconsin Ginseng now? We hope that you found some of this interesting and if you haven’t tried ANTIDOTE Ginseng Shampoo and Conditioner, we hope you’ll give it a chance.

 - Abigail + David

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