Friday, June 10, 2011

Ashwagandha seeds for sale


Withania somnifera-Ashwagandha
Family : Solanaceae (Nightshade Family, Potato Family)
Common name : Asgandh
Genus : Withania
Cashmerian : Asgandh
Arabic  : Kaknaje Hindi
Bengali  : Ashwagandha
Chinese  : Cui mian shui qie
English  : Winter Cherry, Indian Ginseng
German  : Schlafbeere
Gujarati  : Asan, Asoda, Asgandha, Asundha, Ghodakun
Hindi  : Asgandh, Aksan
Kannada  : Hiremaddinegida, Kiremallinagida, Asvagandhi, Angaberu
Marathi  : Asagandha, Askagandha, Askandha
Persian  : Bari Behman
Punjabi  : Asgandh, Ashwagandha, Aksan
Sanskrit : Ashwagandha
Urdu  : Asgand Nagori
Tamil  :   Amukira 
Telgu  : Vajigandha, Pennerugadda

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng,  and  as Indian Winter Cherry is an important ancient plant, the roots of which have been employed in Indian traditional systems of medicine, Ayurveda and Unani. It grows in dry parts in sub-tropical regions. Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are the major Ashwagandha producing states of the country.  It grows wild in the  in Kashmir valley also.

The estimated production of Ashwagandha roots in India is more than 1500 tonnes and the annual requirement is about 7000 tonnes necessitating the increase in its cultivation and higher production.

Ashwagandha, the Indian ginseng or winter cherry has been used as a quiet valuable herb in the Ayurvedic and indigenous medical system for over 3000 years. The roots, leaves and fruits (berry) possess tremendous medicinal value. A famous Ayurvedic rejuvenative botanical used in many tonics and formulas, Ashwagandha is the best rejuvenative that helps maintain proper nourishment of the tissues, particularly muscle and bones, while supporting the proper function of the adrenals and reproductive system.  

Medicinal use of Ashwagandha : 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. The fruit is diuretic. The seed is diuretic and hypnotic.

Chemical Constituents : The methanol, hexane and diethyl ether extracts from both leaves and roots of ashwagandha were found. Alkaloid percentage in roots ranges from 0.13 to 0.31%. The roots of Withania somnifera are alterative, aphrodisiac, deobstruent, diuretic, narcotic, sedative and restorative in nature. The pharmacological activity of the root is attributed to the alkaloids and steroidals lactones. The total alkaloid content in the roots of Indian types has been reported to vary between 0.13 and 0.3, though much high yields (up to 4.3 per cent) have been recorded elsewhere. Many bio-chemical heterogeneous alkaloids, including choline, tropanol, pseudotopanol, cuscokygrene, 3- tigioyloxytropana, isopelletierine and several other steroidal lactories. Twelve alkaloids, 35 withanolides and several sitoindosides have been isolated from the roots of the plant have been studied.

A sitoindoside is a biologically active constituent known as withanolide containing a glucose molecule at carbon 27. Indian ginseng’s pharmacological activity has been attributed to two main withanolides, withaferin A and withanolide D.  Withaferin-A is therapeutically active withanolide reported to be present in leaves. In addition to alkaloids, the roots are reported to contain starch, reducing sugars, glycosides, dulcitol, withancil, an acid and a neutral compound. The amino acids reported from the roots include aspartic acid, glycine, tyrosine, alanine, glutamic acid and cysteine.

Ashwagandha as Medicinal Herb  : Ashwagandha is considered to be one of the best rejuvenating agents in Ayurveda. Its roots, seeds and leaves are used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. Ashwagandha root drug finds an important place in treatment of rheumatic pain, inflammation of joints, nervous disorders and epilepsy. Dried roots are used as tonic for hiccup, cold, cough, female disorders, as a sedative, in care of senile debility, ulcers, etc. Leaves are applied for carbuncles, inflammation and swellings. Leaf juice is useful in conjunctivitis. Bark decoction is taken for asthma and applied locally to bed sores. Ashwagandha and its extracts are used in preparation of herbal tea, powders, tablets and syrups.

Ashwagandha has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, antioxidant, mind-boosting, immune-enhancing, and rejuvenating properties. Ashwagandha root has also been noted to have sex-enhancing properties. Ashwagandha is mentioned in the ancient Kama Sutra as an herb to be used for heightening sexual experience. Ashwagandha has the ability to restore sexual health and improve overall vitality while promoting a calm state of mind. A 2002 laboratory study indicates ashwagandha stimulates the growth of axons and dendrites. A 2001 study in rodents showed ashwagandha had memory boosting ability. A 2000 study with rodents showed ashwagandha to have anti-anxiety and anti-depression effects.

The plant has been used as an aphrodisiac, liver tonic, anti-inflammatory agent, and more recently to treat asthma, ulcers, insomnia, and senile dementia. Clinical trials and animal research support the use of ashwagandha for anxiety, cognitive and neurological disorders, inflammation, and Parkinson's disease. Incorporation of ashwagandha in the diet may prevent or decrease the growth of tumors in human.

It helps in providing progressive, long lasting results for various health concerns like aging, anemia and slow growth, arthritis, fatigue, waning memory, sports fitness and stress-disorders. Pharmacological studies and research so far have indicated that Ashwagandha has  anti-tumour, anti-stress, antioxid boosting, haemopoeitic and rejuvenating properties. It is also an exceptional nerve tonic and nourishes the nerves and improves nerve function to maintain calm during stressful conditions. It also nourishes crucial mind and body connection and psychological immune response.

Ashwagandha Side Effects :  Ashwagandha does not have any significant side effects reported in the medical literature. Safety in pregnancy has not been fully established for Ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha Benefits :Ashwagandha benefits all parts of the body and can be used as a tonic or in oral form. Several studies have shown that Ashwagandha is useful in addressing the following health problems:

1) Osteoarthritis:  A study  in 2008 , scientists tested ashwagandha's effects on human cartilage and found that the herb may help protect against inflammation and cartilage damage associated with osteoarthritis.

2) Anxiety: In an animal-based study published in 2000, researchers found that ashwagandha had an anti-anxiety effect similar to that of lorazepam (a medication used to treat anxiety disorders). The herb also appeared to ease depression.

3) Type 2 Diabetes:  Ashwagandha may help normalize high blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, according to preliminary, animal-based research published in 2008.

4) Cancer:: : In a 2003 study, tests on human tumor cell lines revealed that ashwagandha may slow the growth of lung, breast, and colon cancer cells.Published in 2007, another study on human cells shows that ashwagandha may inhibit tumor growth without harming normal cells.

5) Anti-Oxident: Ashwagandha  used as an anti-oxidant, as studies have shown that it can eliminate free radicals from your immune system. Free radicals are the agents that cause the breakdown of your body’s tissue, alternatively known as aging.

6).Provide energy: Studies show that supplementing with ashwagandha can provide the energy needed to get through long workouts while also allowing for maximum recovery and cell re-growth.

7) General tonic: Ashwagandha is a tonic, which increases sperm count and sexual potency. In the rural areas  vegetable made out of this plant is given to tuberculosis patients. It also increases the iron content in the blood. 

Recommended Dosage : 6 to 10 g powder of root.

Contraindication : Do not use if you are taking anxiety or anti-seizure medication. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, speak with your doctor before taking Ashwagandha. Do not take Ashwagandha if you have leukemia and are being treated with cyclophosphamide (a “chemo” medicine). Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it: Feeling cold (decrease in body temperature) or upset stomach.

Description of the plant:

Plant: Evergreen Shrub

Height: 100 cm (3 1/4 foot)
Habitat of the herb : Open places, disturbed areas etc. An undershrub in stony places.

Edible parts of Ashwagandha : The seeds are used to curdle plant milks in order to make vegetarian cheeses.

Other uses of the herb : The fruit is rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute. The leaves are an insect repellent.

Propagation of Ashwagandha : 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.

W. somnifera grows well in sandy loam or light red soil, having pH 7.5-8.0 with good drainage. It can be cultivated between 600-1200 m  altitude. The semi-tropical areas receiving 500-750 mm rainfall are suitable for cultivation of this rained crop. The crop requires dry season during its growing period. Temperature between 200C to 350C is most suitable for cultivation. Late winter rains are conducive for the proper development of the plant roots

LAND PREPARATION
Ashwagandha is usually grown in fields which are not well covered by the irrigation systems. The field on which food crops cannot be taken profitably for the above reason may be used for Ashwangandha cultivation. The soil of the field selected for Ashwagandha cultivation is well pulverized by ploughing, disking and/or harrowing. The field may be then levelled by the application pata.

PLANTING
The crop can be sown either by broad casting or in lines. Live to line method is preferred as it in creases root production and also helps in performing intercultural practices properly. The seeds are usually sown about 1-3 cm deep in June- July in nursery. A light shower after shower after sowing ensures good germination. About 500-750 gm seeds are sufficient for 1 ha. field. Seeds can be treated, with Thiram or Indofil or Dithane medicinal plants - 45 (@ 3 gm/kg seed), before sowing to protect seedlings from seed borne diseases. The seedling after 25-35 days after sowing can be transplanted in the field marinating 60 x 60 cm. Spacing between the plants & the rows. It may be noted that since 'Asagnadh' is a rainy season Kharif crop, the time of sowing is decided by date of arrival of monsoon in that area.

THINNING AND WEEDING
The seeds sown by broadcasting or in the line in furrows should be thinned out by hand at 25-30 days after sowing to maintain a plant population of about 30-60 plants per square meter (about 3.5 to 6 lakh plants/hectare). The plant density to be used may depend on the nature and fertility of the soil. On the marginal land the population is kept high. If some fertiliser (N:P:K::20:20:0) is applied then the population should preferably be kept at a lower level. One hand weeding at an early stage is sufficient to enable the Ashwagandha plants to take over the growth of weed which get suppressed by its smothering effect.

MANURES, FERTILISERS AND PESTICIDES
The medicinal plants have to be grown without chemical fertilizers and use of pesticides. Organic manures like, Farm Yard Manure (FYM), Vermi-Compost, Green Manure etc. may be used as per requirement of the species. To prevent diseases, bio-pesticides could be prepared (either single or mixture) from Neem (kernel, seeds & leaves), Chitrakmool, Dhatura, Cow's urine etc.
IRRIGATION

Light shower after transplantation ensures establishment of seedlings. There is no need of irrigation if rainfall is at regular intervals. Excessive rainfall/water is harmful to the crop. Life saving irrigations may be applied, if required.
HARVESTING/ POST HARVESTING

The plants start flowering and bearing fruits from December onwards. The crop is ready for harvest in January- March at 150 to 180 days after sowing. The maturity of crop is judged by drying out of leaves and yellow red berries. The entire plant is uprooted for roots which are separated from aerial parts by cutting the stem 1-2 cm above the crown. The roots are then either cut transversely into small pieces (7 to 10 cm) or dried as it is in the sun. About 650-800 kg roots can be obtained from 1 ha on drying it comes to 350-435 kg. Berries are hand plucked separately. They are dried and crushed to take out the seeds.

The dried roots, entire or transversely cut into smaller pieces, have to be further cleaned, trimmed and graded. The roots are beaten with a club which removes adhering soil and breaks off the thin, brittle lateral rootlets. Lateral branches, root crown and stem remains on roots are carefully trimmed with the help of knife.

Withania somnifera-Ashwagandha seeds : 100 seeds/Pkt

Withania somnifera-Ashwagandha plants are also available at:
Chenab Industries Kashmir
(Member: Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre)
POB: 667 GPO Srinagar SGR J&K 190001
Ph: 01933-223705
Mob: 09858986794
e-mail: jkmpic@gmail.com, iirc@rediffmail.com
home: http://chenabindustries.blogspot.com