somnifera need full sun to partial shade with a well-drained slightly
alkaline soil mix. Plants do best when the soil pH is 7.5-8.0. We use
a soil mix consisting of 2 parts sandy loam to 1 parts sand. The
plants are allowed to dry thoroughly in between waterings. In
containers, too much water causes root rot. Plants are fertilized once
during the year with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength
recommended on the label.
Propagation: Withania somnifera are propagated by division,
cuttings or seed. Seed is the best way to propagate them. Seed sown on
moist sand will germinate in 14-21 days at 68° F (20° C).
|Country of Origin: South East Asia
Extraction Method: Steam distilled
Parts Used: The oil is expressed from the dry roots
|Withania somnifera, known as ashwagandha, is a shrub cultivated in India
and North America whose roots have been used for thousands of years by
Ayurvedic practitioners. Withania somnifera root contains flavonoids and many
active ingredients of the withanolide class. Several studies over the past few
years have looked into the role of withania somnifera in having
anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, antioxidant, mind-boosting,
immune-enhancing, and rejuvenating properties. Historically wWithania
somnifera root has also been noted to have sex-enhancing properties.
All chemicals listed pertain to the root unless otherwise specified, as the
root is the part used.
Anaferine (alkaloid), anahygrine (alkaloid), beta-sisterol, chlorogenic acid
(in leaf only), cysteine (in fruit), cuscohygrine (alkaloid), iron,
pseudotropine (alkaloid), scopoletin, somniferinine (alkaloid), somniferiene
(alkaloid), tropanol (alkaloid), withaferin A (steroidal lactone), withanine
(alkaloid), withananine (alkaloid) and withanolides A-Y(steroidal lactones).
The main constituents of ashwagandha are alkaloids and steroidal lactones.
Among the various alkaloids, withanine is the main constituent. The other
alkaloids are somniferine, somnine, somniferinine, withananine, pseudo-withanine,
tropine, pseudo-tropine, 3-a-gloyloxytropane, choline, cuscohygrine,
isopelletierine, anaferine and anahydrine. Two acyl steryl glucoside viz.
sitoindoside VII and sitoindoside VIII have been isolated from root. The
leaves contain steroidal lactones, which are commonly called withanolides. The
withanolides have C28 steroidal nucleus with C9 side chain, having six
membered lactone ring.