Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

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Withania somnifera, also known as Ashwaganda, Ashwagandha, Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng, is a plant from the Nightshade family. It is cultivated heavily in India and is native to parts of the Middle East, the Indian Peninsula, and the Himalayan regions. 

Ashwagandha is a short perennial that features elliptical green leaves and small white bell shaped flowers. The flowers grow into lantern like cases, which contain bright red cherries bearing dozens of tiny seeds. The plant is drought tolerant, loves full sun, and is an essential herb in our medicinal garden and food forest. It grows up to 3 feet tall, and can be grown in deep pots. The root is ready to harvest 150 to 180 days after planting, just as the berries have formed and the leaves have begun to yellow.  We carefully harvest our Ashwaghanda roots in the fall by digging up the entire plant and separating the roots from the base of the plant.  We remove the red berries from their lantern casings then sun dry the roots and the berries separately.

This herb is widely known for it's medicinal properties in Ayurvedic medicine; the root being the most commonly used part. Taken as a tea or in tincture form, it is believed to reduce anxiety and depression, and to help achieve mental clarity.  Recent scientific studies have shown that Ashwaganda's potential medicinal effects are due to the presence of alkaloids and steroidal lactones within the plant. These chemicals may promote anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, and antioxidant effects. Ashwangandha may also have an overall immune system boosting effect according to several studies. This is a great medicinal plant for any herbalists garden! 

How to Grow Ashwagangha

Plant Type: Annual Herb

Harvest Season: Fall - Winter (multiple harvests per year depending on planting)

Mature Size: About 3 ft.

Soil & Moisture: Performs best in high, dry, sandy soil with consistent watering.  

Exposure: Full Sun, Part Shade

Zone Hardiness: 4+

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