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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Withania somnifera – Ashwaghanda ‘Yellow Fruit’ (seed)

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The genus Withania is represented by 26 species worldwide and is within the Solanaceae family. Withania somnifera is native to the Canary Islands and Mediterranean region, through Africa, the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka andChina.

The common name of Ashwaghanda refers not only to a ‘horse’s smell’, but also to the strength of a horse, alluding to its adaptogenic properties. The berries contain a rennet-like protease that can be used to clot milk for cheese production. Powdered roots are an ingredient of Ayurvedic tonic formulas and Raja’s Cup coffee substitute. Roots are lifted from plants after 1-2 years, evidently the longer the better, although I find they are great medicine after 2 years.

Withania somnifera possesses immense therapeutic potential and is known for its immunomodulatory, anti-stress, cardioprotective, anti-aging, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory , anti-tumor, neuroprotective and anti-brain cancer activities. The medicinal properties of W. somnifera are attributed to the presence of a wide array of secondary metabolites, including alkaloids, glycol withanolides, steroidal lactones (withanolide A, withanolide D, withanone, withaferin A), sterols, and phenolics (taken from here).

This is an interesting variety of W. somnifera I recently grew out and was surprised that the fruit was yellow/orange at maturity, instead of the normal red colour. It appears similar in all other regards.

Care and Cultivation of Withania somnifera ‘Yellow Fruit’

Sow seed of Withania somnifera in spring/summer/autumn. Grows from 30cm to 1 metre. Cut back plants in early spring. Full sun or partial shade. Well-drained soil. Perennial. Roots can be harvested after 1 year or preferably 2-5 years. Withania somnifera grows well in red soil (slightly basic) receiving 500 – 750 mm rainfall, pH 7.5-8.0, good drainage and optimal temperature range of 20–32 °C

25+ seeds per packet


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