Cultivation Methods of Withania Somnifera

English Name Winter cherry
Assamese Name Ashwagandha
Hindi Name Punr, Chiropotan
Kannada Name Kanchuki
Malayalam Name Amukkuram
Marathi Name Ghoda, Tilli
Telugu Name Vajigandha, Pannirugada
Gujarati Name Ghodaasun
Tamil Name Akavu, Allivatli
Tibetian Name Ba-dzi-ga-ndha

 

 

 

 

Withania somnifera, also known as Ashwagandha, Indian ginseng. Withania Somnifera belongs to the family of Solanaceae (Potato family). This plant is an erect herbaceous, evergreen shrub of 13 to 150 cm (4 to 5 ft). The stems are covered with whitish colour, stellate hairs. The leaves are ovate entire, thin. The flowers ate bisexual garnish or cured yellow, axillary in clusters of about 25 forming cymes, sessile.

Soil

The crop can be grown on a variety of soil but, it grows in sandy loom or literate soil with good organic matter and drainage. If the soil is loose it will be easily to dig the root out without damaging them. pH range of 7.5 to 8 is ideal for Withania Somnifera cultivation.

Climate

Withania Somnifera prefers a subtropical climate. It is planted during the late rainy season and prefers dry weather for its successful growth.

Cultivation of Withania Somnifera

The seeds can be sown directly into the field.

Direct Sowing

After receiving one or two showers, the field is prepared, divided into plots and seeds are sown during the second week of July. The seed at the rate 5kg per acre is required for this method of planting.

Nursery Rising

About 2kg of seeds are required for 1 acre. To avoid diseases; the seeds are treated with Dithane M-45 at the rate of 3gm per kg of seed before sowing. The seeds in nursery beds are sown in lines spaced at 5cm and covered with light soil or sand. Its starts to germinate within 7 to 8 days. When the seedling grows to a height of 60cm that is in 6 weeks time, they are transplanted in row of the main field.

Withania Somnifera crop does not require heavy doses of manure and fertilizers. Hand weeding should be done at intervals of 30 days to control the weeds.

Diseases

Seedling blight, leaf blight are the common diseases effecting the Withania Somnifera. The crop should be sprayed with Dithane M-45 at the rate of 3gm per litre, when the crop is 30 days old. The spraying should be repeated at the interval of 7 to 10 days if the disease is not controlled.

Harvesting

After 8 months of planting the maturity of the crop is judged by the drying out of leaves and berries turning red. The whole plants are uprooted and the roots are separated from the aerial part by cutting the stem 1-2 cm above the crown. They are then transversely cut into small pieces of 7 to 10 cm for drying. The berries are plucked from the dried plant and are threshed to obtain the seeds.

Action & Uses

Withania Somnifera is a tonic, alterative aphrodisiace and nervine sedative. Seeds contain poisonous properties. Root is also diuretic and aphrodisiac.

Ashwagandha is used for white leprosy, cough, asthma, uterive. Diseased root is used in application in obstinate ulcers and rheumatic swelling. Withania Somnifera is used as a nutrient and health restorative to pregnant and old people. A decoction of the root is recommended or its powder with milk may be taken.

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