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Withania - (L.)Dunal.

Common Name Ashwagandha - Indian Ginseng, Withania
Family Solanaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The plant is toxic if eaten[238]. Can induce dependence [301]. May decrease the effectiveness of allopathic immunosuppressant drugs. Avoid with sleeping tablets (barbiturates) [301].
Habitats Open places, disturbed areas etc[192]. An undershrub in stony places[238].
Range Mediterranean Europe, most of Africa, through W. Asia to Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Withania Ashwagandha - Indian Ginseng, Withania


Withania Ashwagandha - Indian Ginseng, Withania
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Withania is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Physalis somnifera. Withania kansuensis. Withania microphysalis

Habitats

Edible Uses

The seeds are used to curdle plant milks in order to make vegetarian cheeses[183, 240].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



Clinical research data do not support the use of ashwagandha for any condition [301]. Ashwagandha is one of the most widespread tranquillisers used in India, where it holds a position of importance similar to ginseng in China[238]. It acts mainly on the reproductive and nervous systems, having a rejuvenative effect on the body, and is used to improve vitality and aid recovery after chronic illness[238, 254]. The plant is little known in the West[192]. The whole plant, but especially the leaves and the root bark, are abortifacient, adaptogen, antibiotic, aphrodisiac, deobstruent, diuretic, narcotic, strongly sedative and tonic[169, 192, 238, 240]. Internally, it is used to tone the uterus after a miscarriage and also in treating post-partum difficulties[192]. It is also used to treat nervous exhaustion, debility, insomnia, wasting diseases, failure to thrive in children, impotence, infertility, multiple sclerosis etc[238]. Externally it has been applied as a poultice to boils, swellings and other painful parts[192, 240]. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238]. Some caution is advised in the use of this plant since it is toxic[K]. The fruit is diuretic[240]. The seed is diuretic and hypnotic[240].

Other Uses

The fruit is rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute[169, 192]. The leaves are an insect repellent[169].

Cultivation details

A fairly easily grown plant, it requires a warm sheltered position in full sun and a well-drained moderately fertile soil[169, K]. Prefers a dry stony soil[238]. This species is not hardy in temperate climates but it can be grown as an annual, flowering and fruiting in its first year from seed[169].

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Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse. There is usually a high germination rate within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and plant them out after the last expected frost. Consider giving the plants some protection, such as a cloche, until they are established and growing away well.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Aksan, Ashwagandha, Cheese tree, Gisewa, Indian ginseng, Karama anta, Kuaak, Kuak, Kuthmithi, Winter cherry, Zafua, 'ubab, 'ubâb, a sh a ga n dha, achuvagandi, acuvakanthi, agol, ahan, ajagandha, aksan, aksin, amukkara in tamil, amukkaram kizargu, amukkaramkizangu, amukkara (root), amukkara ki?a?ku, amukkira, amukkram, amukkuram, amukkuran, angarberu, asagand, asagandh, asagandh nagori, asagandha, asan, asana, asgand, asgand asgand nagori, asgandh, asgandh nagori, asgandha, asgandnagar, asganhisrol, asgvagandha, ashuvagandhi, ashvaganadha, ashvagandba, ashvagandha, ashvakandika, ashwaganda, ashwagandha, ashwagandha root, ashwaganha, ashwahandha, askagandha, askagandha as'vagandha, askandha, askandhatilli, asoda, asugandha, asun, asundha, asunyho, asuvagandi, asvagandha, asvagandhi, aswagandha, aswal, aswgandh, asvagandha (root), babu, bitterappeliefie, bofepha, bouzidân, bufera somnifera, bâibru, cheparusiot, chepepterekiat, cherry winter, coqueret sommnifere, coqueret somnifère, dambarico, duffhro, e-gaddy, emotoe, erva moura sonífera, foakapoaka, fuqqueish, gandhrapatri, ghoda, ghodakun, ghodasan, ginseng indiano, girbah, gisawa, gizara, gizawa, gizewa, hayagandha, hayagandhã, hayagandha, heilkraut, hidi-budawa, hidigaga, hindib, hirchil, hiremaddina- gida, hiremaddina-gadday, hiremaddina-gaddy, hiremaddina-gida, hirenaddina-hire-gadday, idi, idigaga, indian ginseng, isgand, juustumari, kabarra, kakani hindi, kakanj hindi, kaknaj-e-hindi, kaknja-e-hindi, kanaje hindi, kanchuki, khasraqul, kilangee, kipkogai, kuvia, labotwit, lakri, leekurun, lesayet, lopotwo, malagueta de galinha, merjan, mgeda, mhulapori, moferangopa, morgan, mosala-marupi, mpwa, mtemua shamba, mtemua shimba, murambae, nhulapori, ofuyaendwa, ol asajet, olasaiyet, oroval, orval, oshilumembodi, otjindumbu, ouartinni, palashaparni, penneroogadda, penneru, pennerugadda, pevette, poc poc sauvage, poc-poc sauvage, poison gooseberry, pontadeira, punir, radix withaniae, samm al ferakh, samm al-far, samoah, samwah, schlafbeere, sebbere-gola, senn-el-far, serran, sim-alfirakh, simm el ferakh, sum-ul-far, sum-ul-firakh, tatdra, tchintueumbuo, techil, ti-poc-poc, ubab, ubub, ubuvimba, ubuvuma, umuhire, umuire, umuvimba, uva caneça, u’beb, vajigandha, varahapatri, vimhepe, virenaddlinagadda, vajigandha, winter cherry, winter cherry|amukkara, winter chirry, winter-cherry, witania, withania, withania somnifera root, withania somnifera root for use in thmp, xharkhardii, xoxoriko, za'o|'o, ||auemas, ||auhaib.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Botswana, Canary Islands, China, East Africa, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mediterranean, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, North Africa, North America, Pakistan, Palestine, South Africa, Southern Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tasmania, Turkey, West Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Withania somniferaAshwagandha - Indian Ginseng, Withania13

 

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Author

(L.)Dunal.

Botanical References

266

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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