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Withania somnifera Ashwagandha Solanaceae
Withania 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 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.