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With origins on the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh) Ashwagandha has a variety of herbal uses. Used primarily as an immune booster, Ashwagandha is considered to be a rasayana herb, a term that means rejuvenation in ayurvedic medine. Roughly translating into “knowledge of long life,” Ayurvedic medicine dates back to ancient India.
Some people call this plant Indian ginseng because it has similar uses to Ginseng in Chinese medicine. Several drug companies are currently competing for patents for Ashwagandha, claiming it to be effective as an antioxidant, aphrodisiac and diuretic. It is also used as a treatment for memory loss, fever, arthritis, tumors, anxiety and to promote overall wellness.
A part of the tomato family, Indian ginseng is a shrub that grows to be about 170cm tall. Its roots and berries are the source of its medicinal use. Several cultivars have been developed from Ashwagandha, it can also be found in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. Some people have complained about drowsiness as a side effect. Accordingly, it is also used for its sedative properties. As with any other herbal remedy, it is recommended you consult your doctor first.
Growing Information: Sow seeds by just pressing into a moist sandy soil mix. Maintain temperatures of about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not prechill the seeds as studies have shown this to decrease viability. Indian Ginseng is considered to be an easy plant to grow once established. It grows best in full sunlight in dry, well-draining soil with a slightly alkaline ph. Seeds should be sown in early spring in a greenhouse or started indoors. Germination usually begins within two weeks.