Herbs & Plants

Rosa laevigata

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Botanical Name : Rosa laevigata
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Rosa
Species: R. laevigata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales

Common Name :Cherokee Rose

Habitat : Rosa laevigata is native to E. Asia – Southern China from Sichuan and Hubei to Taiwan. It grows on the rocky places at low altitudes. In open fields, farmland, or in scrub at elevations of 200 – 1600 metres. This rose has naturalized across much of the southeastern United States.

This evergreen climbing rose produces long, thorny, vinelike canes that will form a mound 10-12 ft (3-3.7 m) in height and about 15 ft (4.6 m) wide. This rose is often seen sprawling across adjacent shrubs and other supports that it employs to climb to even greater heights. The pure white single flowers are 3.5-4 in (9-10 cm) in diameter and appear in spring. They are densely arranged along the length of the canes that form garlands of blossoms. The fruit of the Cherokee rose is called a hip and is large compared to other members of the rose family being 1.5-2 in (4-5 cm)long by 0.5-1 in (1-2.5 cm) wide. Cherokee rose has attractive evergreen compound leaves composed of three leaflets with the center leaflet larger than its partners. The glossy light green leaflets are oval shaped with a pointed tip and range from 1-3.5 in (2.5-9 cm)long and 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) wide.  The flower stem is also very bristly.

The Cherokee rose’s fast growth rate and long stems armed with large hooked thorns make it an effective screening and barrier plant. It’s a useful addition to natural areas where it will shoot long arching stems that will string themselves vinelike through tree branches and shrubs. Grow on trellises, fences or tree trunks or plant in an open area where it will grow into a large mound. Rather than trim the plant into a mound, let the canes grow long so they can weave white springtime garlands through adjacent shrubbery. Cherokee rose is very happy in waterside situations where it can cast shimmering reflections upon still surfaces.

Succeeds in most soils, preferring a circumneutral soil and a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes water-logged soils. A very ornamental plant[1], but it is not very hardy in Britain and only succeeds outside in the warmer parts of the country. It can be cut back to the ground even in southern England in cold winters, though it will usually resprout from the base. It is the state flower of Georgia and is also the parent of several modern garden cultivars. The flowers have a clove-like fragrance. If any pruning is necessary then this should be carried out immediately after the plant has finished flowering. Grows well with alliums, parsley, mignonette and lupins. Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation. Grows badly with boxwood. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Propagation: Seed. Rose seed often takes two years to germinate. This is because it may need a warm spell of weather after a cold spell in order to mature the embryo and reduce the seedcoat[80]. One possible way to reduce this time is to scarify the seed and then place it for 2 – 3 weeks in damp peat at a temperature of 27 – 32°c (by which time the seed should have imbibed). It is then kept at 3°c for the next 4 months by which time it should be starting to germinate. Alternatively, it is possible that seed harvested ‘green’ (when it is fully developed but before it has dried on the plant) and sown immediately will germinate in the late winter. This method has not as yet(1988) been fully tested[80]. Seed sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame sometimes germinates in spring though it may take 18 months. Stored seed can be sown as early in the year as possible and stratified for 6 weeks at 5°c. It may take 2 years to germinate.  Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in the summer if the plants are more than 25cm tall, otherwise grow on in a cold frame for the winter and plant out in late spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July in a shaded frame. Overwinter the plants in the frame and plant out in late spring. High percentage. Cuttings of mature wood of the current seasons growth. Select pencil thick shoots in early autumn that are about 20 – 25cm long and plant them in a sheltered position outdoors or in a cold frame. The cuttings can take 12 months to establish but a high percentage of them normally succeed. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions. Layering. Takes 12 months.

Edible Uses:

Edible Parts: Fruit; Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. The pear-shaped fruit is up to 4cm long[200], but there is only a thin layer of flesh surrounding the many seeds. Sugar can be extracted from the fruit, it is also used to ferment rose wine. Some care has to be taken when eating this fruit, see the notes above on known hazards. The seed is a good source of vitamin E, it can be ground and mixed with flour or added to other foods as a supplement. Be sure to remove the seed hairs.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are a famous vulnerary. The fruits, root and leaves stabilize the kidney. A decoction is used in the treatment of chronic dysentery, urinary tract infections, wet dreams, prolapse of the uterus, menstrual irregularities and traumatic injuries. The root bark is astringent and used in the treatment of diarrhea and menorrhagia.  The dried fruits are used internally in the treatment of urinary dysfunction, infertility, seminal emissions, urorrhea, leucorrhea and chronic diarrhea. The root is used in the treatment of uteral prolapse.  The flowers are used in the treatment of dysentery and to restore hair cover. The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers.

Known Hazards: There is a layer of hairs around the seeds just beneath the flesh of the fruit. These hairs can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if ingested.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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Herbs & Plants

Atropa acuminata Royle

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Botanical Name : Atropa acuminata Royle
Family : Solanaceae
Subfamily: Solanoideae
Tribe: Hyoscyameae.
Genus: Atropa
Species: Atropa acuminata
Atropa lutescens Jacq. ex C.B. Clarke in Hook.f., , Fl. Brit. India vol. 4, 241. 1885.
Atropa belladonna var. flava Pater in Pharm. Zentralh. vol. 63, 77. 1922.
Atropa bella-donna var. lutea Döll , Flora Grossh. Baden vol. 2, 770. 1859.
Atropa pallida Bornm. in Beih. Bot. Centralbl. vol. 33, 305. 1915.

Common Names :Belladona, Jharka, Jalgi, Deadly night shade

Habitat :The species is native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, and has become naturalized in parts of North America. In areas where it has become naturalized it can often be found in shady, moist areas with a limestone-rich soil. The name bella donna is derived from Italian and means “beautiful woman”; E. Iran, E. Afghanistan, eastwards to Kashmir, Mongolia.

It is a perennial herbaceous plant grows  up to 1.6 m tall, branched. Stem and branches fistular, young shoots puberulous. Leaves 8-17 x 4.5-8.0 cm, elliptic-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, cuneate. Petiole up to 20 mm long. Calyx 9-15 mm long, up to 20 mm in fruit, ± cupular, puberulous; lobes 6-10 mm long, ovate-acute, unequal, persistent. Corolla 20-23 mm long, yellow; lobes obtuse. Stamens included. Anthers c. 3 mm long, oblong filaments 10-11 mm long. Berry globose, 10 mm broad black when ripe. Seeds subreniform, 2 mm long, reticulate, foveolate, brown.

click to see the picture.>..(0)....(01)...(1)..….…(2).……..(3)………(4)…..

Medicinal Uses:
All parts of the plant contain the alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine and bellodonnine, which are used as a sedative, antispasmodic, in convulsive disorders and as an antidote for poisoning. The black berries are very poisonous and cause delirium and dilation of the pupils.

The drug atropine is produced from the foliage, which along with the berries are extremely toxic, with hallucinogenic properties.

There is currently insufficient scientific evidence to recommend the use of belladonna for any condition, although some of its components have accepted medical uses. The alkaloid l-atropine was purified from belladona in the 1830s, enabling studies of the autonomic nervous system leading to the recognition of the function of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Atropine reverses the effects of poisoning by organophosphate nerve agents used for chemical warfare. Atropine is also widely used as a cardiac medication to increase the heart rate of patients suffering from bradycardia.

Donnatal, a prescription pharmaceutical approved in the United States by the FDA to “provide peripheral anticholinergic/antispasmodic action and mild sedation”, is a phenobarbital formulation also containing alkaloids derived from belladonna. It is also labeled as not being tested for effectiveness in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and acute enterocolitis and as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of duodenal ulcers.

Alternative medicine
“A. belladonna” has been used in traditional treatments for centuries for an assortment of conditions including headache, menstrual symptoms, peptic ulcer disease, histaminic reaction, inflammation, and motion sickness. Homeopathic preparations with the name “belladonna” have been sold as treatments for various conditions.

Recreational drug
“Atropa belladonna”, along with related plants such as jimson weed, has occasionally been used as a recreational drug because of the vivid hallucinations and delirium that it produces. These hallucinations are most commonly described as very unpleasant, however, and recreational use is considered extremely dangerous because of the high risk of unintentional fatal overdose.

In the past, it was believed that witches used a mixture of belladonna, opium poppy, and other plants, typically poisonous (such as monkshood and poison hemlock) in flying ointment they applied to help them fly to gatherings with other witches. Carlo Ginzburg and others have argued that flying ointments were preparations meant to encourage hallucinatory dreaming; a possible explanation for the inclusion of belladonna and opium poppy in flying ointments concerns the known antagonism between tropane alkaloids of belladonna (specifically scopolamine) and opiate alkaloids in Papaver somniferum (specifically morphine), which produces a dream-like waking state. This antagonism was known in folk medicine, discussed in eclectic (botanical) medicine formularies   and posited as the explanation of how flying ointments might have actually worked in contemporary writing on witchcraft.The antagonism between opiates and tropanes is the original basis of the Twilight Sleep that was provided to Queen Victoria to deaden pain as well as consciousness during childbirth, and which was later modified so that isolated alkaloids were used instead of plant materials, the whole belladonna herb especially being notable for its unpredictability of effect and toxicity.

Click to see :

*Improvement of sexual destination in Atropa acuminata Royle (Solanaceae)–a critically endangered medicinal plant of Northwestern Himalaya.

*Pakistan Journal of Biological Science

Click to access 778-782.pdf

Other Uses:
Cosmetics : The common name “belladonna” originates from its historic use by women – “Bella Donna” is Italian for “beautiful lady.” Drops prepared from the belladonna plant were used to dilate women’s pupils, an effect considered attractive.

Today it is known that the atropine in belladonna acts as an antimuscarinic, blocking receptors in the muscles of the eye that constrict pupil size.

] Belladonna is currently rarely used cosmetically, as it carries the adverse effects of causing minor visual distortions, inability to focus on near objects, and increased heart rate. Prolonged usage was reputed to cause blindness.


Belladonna is one of the most toxic plants found in the Western hemisphere. All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids. The berries pose the greatest danger to children because they look attractive and have a somewhat sweet taste. The consumption of two to five berries by children and ten to twenty berries by adults can be lethal. The root of the plant is generally the most toxic part, though this can vary from one specimen to another. Ingestion of a single leaf of the plant can be fatal to an adult.

The active agents in Belladonna, atropine, hyoscine (scopolamine), and hyoscyamine, have anticholinergic properties. The symptoms of belladonna poisoning include dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions,

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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Herbs & Plants

Datura metel

Botanical Name : Datura metel
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Datura
Species: D. metel
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Names: Devil’s trumpet and metel,Thorn Apple, Angel’s Trumpet, Hindu Datura, Horn of Plenty, Downy Thorn Apple
It is known under several cultivar names as; ‘Black’, ‘Blackcurrant Swirl’, ‘Cornucopaea’, ‘Double Blackcurrant Swirl’, ‘Double Purple’, ‘Purple Hindu’. It has also received many scientific names which should not be used for a cultivar:

*Datura hummatu var. fastuosa (L.) Bernh.
*Datura fastuosa L.
*Datura metel f. fastuosa (L.) Danert
*Datura metel var. fastuosa (L.) Saff.
*Stramonium fastuosum (L.) Moench

Habitat: Datura metel is native to E. Asia – S. China, India. Naturalized in the Mediterranean. It grows in waste places, river sands etc in sunny positions


The plant is an annual herb growing up to 3 ft. high. It is slightly furry, with dark violet shoots and oval to broad oval leaves that are often dark violet as well. The pleasantly-scented 6-8 in. flowers are immensely varied, and can be single or double. Colors range from white to cream, yellow, red, and violet. The seed capsule is covered with numerous conical humps and a few spines.. It is similar to D. inoxia, but D. metel has almost glabrous leaves and fruits that are knobby, not spiny. D. inoxia is pilose all over and has a spiny fruit.

Click to see different pictures of Dautra metal
Black daturas (Datura metel ‘Fastuosa’)
A cultivar of D. metel with a polished-looking ebony-black stem exists as a garden plant. Its flowers normally have a double or triple corolla, each corolla having a deep purple exterior and white or off-white interior. The plant is already reported to have become naturalised in Israel (see illustration). The black cultivar might become a common roadside dweller, like its white-flowered ancestor……CLICK  & SEE THE PICTURES

Detail Botanical Description:
*ROOT – Branched tap root system
*STEM – The stem is hollow, green and herbaceous with strong odour
*LEAF – Simple, alternate, petiolate, entire or deeply lobed, glabrous showing unicostate reticulate venation and exstipulate.
*INFLORESCENCE – Solitary and axillary cyme
*FLOWER – Laege, greenish white, bracteate, ebractiolate, pedicellate, complete, dichlamydeous, pentamerous, regular, actinomorphic, bisexual, and hypogynous
*CALYX – Sepals 5, green, gamosepalous showing valvate aestivation. Calyx is mostly persistent andodd sepal is posterior in position.
*COROLLA – Petals 5, greenish white, gamopetalous, plicate showing twisted aestivation, funnel shaped with wide mouth and 10 lobed.
*ANDROECIUM – Stamens 5, free from one another, epipetalous, alternate the petals and are inserted inside the middle of the corolla tube. Anthers are basifixed, dithecous with long filament, introrse and longitudinally dehiscent.
*GYNOECIUM – Ovary superior, syncarpous and bicarpellary. Ovary is basically bilocullar but tetralocular due to false septa. Carpels are obliquely place and ovules on swollen axile placenta. Style simple, long and filliform. Stigma is two lobed.
*FRUIT – Spinescent capsule opening by four apical valves with persistent calyx.
*SEED – Endospermous


Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Specimen. Prefers a rich light sandy soil and an open sunny position. Grows best in a fertile calcareous soil[200]. This species is extremely susceptible to the various viruses that afflict the potato family (Solanaceae), it can act as a centre of infection so should not be grown near potatoes or tomatoes. There are a number of named varieties selected for their ornamental value. The flowers have an exotic fragrance, though the bruised leaves have an unpleasant smell. This species is closely related to D. innoxia. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Fragrant flowers.

Propagation :
Sow the seed in individual pots in early spring in a greenhouse. Put 3 or 4 seeds in each pot and thin if necessary to the best plant. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 6 weeks at 15°c. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Especially in areas with hot summers, it is worthwhile trying a sowing outdoors in situ in mid to late spring.

Edible Uses:   Drink……The leaves and roots are bruised, mixed with water and left to stand for several hours. The liquid is then drawn off and drunk. This is a highly narcotic drink, producing a stupefying effect that it is not easy to remove. Caution is advised, see the notes  in known hazards.

Medicinal use:
Datura is known for its anticholinergic and deliriant properties: D. metel is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is called yáng j?n hu? . The ingestion of D.metel in any form is dangerous and should be treated with extreme caution. The dry flower, particularly the violet coloured, if rolled and used like cigar, will help to relieve the asthma or wheezing like symptoms

You may click to see :

Medical uses, culinary recepies, psychoactive effects, etc. :

Medicinal Plants or Medicinal Herbs – Datura metel (Siddha Medicine) (Materia Medica) :

Different Medical Uses of Datura Metel :

Known Hazards:

All parts of Datura plants contain dangerous levels of tropane alkyloids (highly poisonous) and may be fatal if ingested by humans or other animals, including livestock and pets. In some places it is prohibited to buy, sell or cultivate Datura plants.

Datura metel may be toxic if ingested in a tiny quantity, symptomatically expressed as flushed skin, headaches, hallucinations, and possibly convulsions or even a coma. The principal toxic elements are tropane alkaloids. Accidentally (or intentionally) ingesting even a single leaf could lead to severe side effects.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


Herbs & Plants

Indian Belladonna(Atropa acuminata)

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Botanical Name: Atropa acuminata
Family : Solanaceae
Sub Family: Solanoideae
Species: A. belladonna
Order: Solanales
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Genus : Atropa

Common Names:-angurhafa, sagangur,DHATOORO ,Tollkirsche, Schafsbinde,

Schwindelkirsche, Teufelsbinde, Teufelskirsche, Waldnachtschatten, Wutbeere...etc

Habitat : E. Asia – Himalayas from Kashmir to Baluchistan.  Found at elevations between 1800 and 3600 metres.

Perennial growing to 0.9m by 0.75m.
It is hardy to zone 0. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is a  perpetual herb with 50to 100 centimeter height.

click to see the pictures…>.…(01)...(1)....…(2).…..….(3).…………………………
LEAVES:-leaves re mostly brownish green in colour ith 5-15 cm long.

FLOWERS:-flowers in pairs about 3 cm long yellowish brown in colour..

Cultivation :
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any well-drained moisture retentive soil in sun or partial shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. When grown as a medicinal plant, the highest levels of the medically active alkaloids are obtained from plants growing on a light, permeable chalky soil, especially when on a south-west facing slope[4]. The highest concentrations are also formed when the plant is growing in a sunny position and in hot summers. Plants tend to be short-lived.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Germination of stored seed is slow and erratic, usually taking 1 – 6 months at 10°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of softwood terminal shoots in spring. Root cuttings in winter

Medicinal Uses:

Anodyne; Diuretic; Mydriatic; Narcotic; Sedative.

Indian belladonna has very similar uses to the related deadly nightshade (A. bella-donna). The roots and leaves are used in India as anodyne, diuretic, mydriatic, narcotic and sedative. The following uses for deadly nightshade are also probably applicable for this species[K]:- Although it is poisonous, deadly nightshade has a long history of medicinal use and has a wide range of applications, in particular it is used to dilate the pupils in eye operations, to relieve intestinal colic and to treat peptic ulcers. The plant can be used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, reducing tremors and rigidity whilst improving speech and mobility. It has also been used as an antidote in cases of mushroom or toadstool poisoning. This is a very poisonous plant, it should be used with extreme caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity. All parts of the plant are analgesic, antidote, antispasmodic, diuretic, hallucinogenic, mydriatic, narcotic and sedative. The root is the most active part of the plant, it is harvested in the autumn and can be 1 – 3 years old, though the older roots are very large and difficult to dig up. The leaves are harvested in late spring and dried for later use. All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids. The leaves contain on average 0.4% active alkaloids, whilst the root contains around 0.6%. The alkaloid content also varies according to the development of the plant, being low when the plant is flowering and very high when bearing green berries. These alkaloids inhibit the parasympathetic nervous system which controls involuntary body activties. This reduces saliva, gastric, intestinal and bronchial secretions, as well as the activity of the urinary tubules, bladder and intestines. An extract of the plant has been used as eyedrops. It has the effect of dilating the pupils thus making it easier to perform eye operations. In the past women used to put the drops in their eyes in order to make them look larger and thus ‘more beautiful. The entire plant, harvested when coming into flower, is used to make a homeopathic remedy. This is used especially in cases where there is localised and painful inflammation that radiates heat. It is also used to treat sunstroke and painful menstruation.

The drug obtained by this plant through their young leaves and flowers.drugs which obtained by the leaves bring about a decrease in emission of sweats and gastric glands..mostly its known as belladona.

it acts as strong drug which used to relieve Acute abdominal pain and other irregular indication ..
it is also useful in contending cough. Because of toxic substances in roots they are working mostly in research for outer application on irritation.

Known Hazards: The whole plant, and especially the root, is very poisonous. Even handling the plant has been known to cause problems if the person has cuts or grazes on the hand. The plant is particularly dangerous for children since the fruit looks attractive and has a sweet taste. The toxins are concentrated in the ripe fruit.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein ,  is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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Herbs & Plants


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Botanical Name:Withania somanifera
Family : Solanaceae
Kingdom : Plantae
Subkingdom : Tracheobionta
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Subclass : Asteridae
Order : Solanales
Genus : Withania
Species : W. somanifera

INDIAN NAME:-  Amukkiran, Ghoda, Asor.  It is  also known as Ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, Winter cherry, Ajagandha, Kanaje Hindi, Amukkuram in Malayalam and Samm Al Ferakh, is a plant in Solanaceae or nightshade family.

Habitat:Ashwagandha grows prolifically in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It is commercially cultivated in Madhya Pradesh (a state in India).
Woodland Garden; Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Cultivated Beds; South Wall By; West Wall By;

It grows as a stout shrub that reaches a height of 170 cm (5.6 ft). Like the tomato which belongs to the same family, it bears yellow flowers and red fruit, though its fruit is berry-like in size and shape.
its is asmall middle-sized under shrub, to the height of 1.4 m, stem and branches covered with minute star- shaped hairs.
……..CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES…>…..(01).....(1).…..(2).…...(3)…..(4)...(5).…..(6)……..(7)..……………………..


LEAVES : leaves up to 10 cm long, ovate, hairy like branched.

FLOWER :-flowers are pale green, small about 1 cm long, few flower borne, smooth red, enclosed in the inflated and membranous calyx.

Other species
There are over 20 other species of the Withania genus that occur in the dry parts of India, North Africa, Middle East, and the Mediterranean. These include Withania coagulens and Withania simonii, the roots of which are sometimes used interchangeably with those of Withania somnifera.Withania somnifera itself has been extensively domesticated from the wild form. In India, at least five different cultivars have been developed for increased root size and adaptation to different climates.

Cultivation :

A fairly easily grown plant, it requires a warm sheltered position in full sun and a well-drained moderately fertile soil. Prefers a dry stony soil. 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.


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.

Active constituents:-
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, cuscohygrine,anferine and anhydrine. 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.
Edible Uses
Edible Uses: Curdling agent.
The seeds are used to curdle plant milks in order to make vegetarian cheeses

Medicinal  Action & Uses:-

Abortifacient; Adaptogen; Antibiotic; Aphrodisiac; Astringent; Deobstruent; Diuretic; Narcotic; Sedative; Tonic.

Ashwagandha is one of the most widespread tranquillisers used in India, where it holds a position of importance similar to ginseng in China. 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. The plant is little known in the West. The whole plant, but especially the leaves and the root bark, are abortifacient, adaptogen, antibiotic, aphrodisiac, deobstruent, diuretic, narcotic, strongly sedative and tonic. Internally, it is used to tone the uterus after a miscarriage and also in treating post-partum difficulties. It is also used to treat nervous exhaustion, debility, insomnia, wasting diseases, failure to thrive in children, impotence, infertility, multiple sclerosis etc. Externally it has been applied as a poultice to boils, swellings and other painful parts. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. Some caution is advised in the use of this plant since it is toxic[K]. The fruit is diuretic. The seed is diuretic and hypnotic



In Ayurveda ashwaganda is considered a rasayana herb. This herb is also considered an adaptogen which is an herb that works to normalize physiological function, working on the HPA axis and the neuroendocrine system.  In Ayurveda, the fresh roots are sometimes boiled in milk, prior to drying, in order to leach out undesirable constituents. The berries are used as a substitute for rennet, to coagulate milk in cheese making.

Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “horse’s smell,” probably originating from the odor of its root which resembles that of sweaty horse. In Tamil language|Tamil, it is called Amukkrang Kilangu and is used in several medicines.

The species name somnifera means “sleep-inducing” in Latin, indicating that to it are attributed sedating properties, but it has been also used for sexual vitality and as an adaptogen. Some herbalists refer to ashwagandha as Indian ginseng, since it is used in ayurvedic medicine in a way similar to that ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Seven American and four Japanese firms have filed for grant of patents on formulations containing extracts of the herb Ashwagandha. Fruits, leaves and seeds of the Indian medicinal plant withania somnifera have been traditionally used for the Ayurvedic system as aphrodisiacs, diuretics and for treating memory loss. The Japanese patent applications are related to the use of the herb as a skin ointment and for promoting reproductive fertility. The U.S based company

Natreon has also obtained a patent for an Ashwagandha extract.

Another US establishment, the New England Deaconess Hospital, has taken a patent on an Ashwagandha formulation claimed to alleviate symptoms associated with arthritis. The product called “ashwagandha oil” is a combination of ashwagandha with almond oil and rose water designed to be used as a facial toner, and should not be consumed orally.
Practitioners of Ayurveduc medicine, the traditional medicine of India, regard this root as the Indian answer to ginseng for the male libido.  Some reference do not recommend on a daily basis but others do.   It is considered to reduce vata and kapha.  It is mainly used in the West as a restorative for the elderly and the chronically ill.  For such regenerative purposes, it can be taken as a milk decoction to which may be added raw sugar, honey, pippali and basmati rice.  As such, it inhibits aging and catalyzes the anabolic processes of the body.  It is a good food for weak pregnant women, it helps to stabilize the fetus.  It also regenerates the hormonal system, promotes healing of tissues, and can be used externally on wounds, sores, etc.  Five grams of the powder can be taken twice a day in warm milk or water, sweetened with raw sugar.

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By reducing overactivity and encouraging rest and relaxation, withania is useful in countering the debility that accompanies long-term stress.  Its high iron content makes it useful for anemia.  Withania has been widely researched in India.  Studies in 1965 indicated that the alkaloids are sedative, reduce blood pressure, and lower the heartbeat rate.  Research in 1970 showed that withanolides, which are similar to the body’s own steroid hormones, are anti-inflammatory.  They also inhibit the growth of cancer cells.  The herb may be of use in chronic inflammatory diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and as a cancer preventative.  Trials in 1980 indicated that withania increases hemoglobin levels, reduces graying of hair, and improves sexual performance.  It also helps recovery from chronic illness.

Traditional use: acne, adrenal disorders, age spots, anemia, anorexia, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, convalescence, debility, depression, diabetes mellitus, diarrhea, edema, endometriosis, failing memory, fatigue, frigidity, hyperlipemia, hypertension, immunodeficiency, impotence, indigestion, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, poor attention span, ulcer

Pharmacological effects
Ashwagandha is reported to have anti-carcinogenic effects in animal and cell cultures by decreasing the expression of nuclear factor-kappaB, suppressing intercellular tumor necrosis factor, and potentiating apoptotic signalling in cancerous cell lines.

Withania somnifera is prone to several pests and diseases. Leaf spot disease of Withania somnifera caused by Alternaria alternata is the most prevalent disease. It is most severe in Indian plains of Punjab, Hariyana and Himachal Pradesh. Dr. Pratap Kumar Pati research group from Guru Nanak Dev University

India, recently reported in an article of Indian journal of microbiology, on the biodeterioration of its pharmacutically active components during leaf spot disease.

Side effects
There are no listed side effects for Withania Somnifera in humans, but a study on its effects on rats found unfavorable issues in their hearts and adrenal glands in extremely high dosages taken for a duration of 180 days.Withania somnifera stimulates the thyroid leading to thyreotoxicosis in some humans  and in mice.

Other Uses

Repellent; Soap.

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

Disclaimer:The information presented herein ,  is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.