Common name: Ashwagandha, Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry, Asandh
Scientific name: Withania somnifera
Plant history & use:
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal plant that has been used for its medicinal value for thousands of years, mainly for physical as well as mental fatigue. The adaptogenic properties of Ashwagandha are thought to balance any imbalances in the body - partly through lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The root also has anti-inflammatory properties and is considered soothing for the nervous system.
Perceived effects when using Ashwagandha are improved cognitive performance in the form of memory enhancement and concentration capability as well as overall higher energy levels.
Ashwagandha is furthermore used in exercise supplements for increased muscle growth.
Ashwagandha can be grown in a bright window or under artificial light.
This is a plant that thrives in dry climates and therefore has no problems growing inside as a houseplant. But the plant can advantageously be put outside in the summer to receive extra sunlight.
However, in the most favorable climates of Spain, Italy, Albania, Greece and Turkey (mainly adjacent to the coastal areas) Ashwagandha can be grown outdoors all year around as a perennial.
As the plant grows larger, it is beneficial to give good space for the roots, as it is mainly the root growth that you are interested in when growing and harvesting Ashwagandha.
When the plant has grown, you can let the soil dry out in between waterings as this prevents troubles such as lack of oxygen in the roots and further contributes to increased root growth. The Ashwagandha is very drought resistant once established.