Ashwaganda Harvesting
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Alison Logee
Posted on: September 16, 2008

When is the best time to harvest the ashwaganda leaves and should this be done before the fruits appear? How much of the leaf should I harvest from one plant?

Actually it is the roots that are used medicinally. This is why the plant is treated as an annual, as the rest of the plant is discarded. Harvest the root as late as you can, so that it gets as big as possible.

Unfortunately the leaves have been attacked by the Colorado potato beetle (which I am still trying to get under control). Is it bad to harvest the leaves that might have been nibbled on?

No. If it were a vegetable the nibbled on portions might have developed a bitter taste, a defence used by many plants to discourage being eaten, but in this case we are only interested in the roots.

Can the stem also be harvested?

As far as I am aware, only the roots are used and do take care, as all parts of the plant are poisonous and should not be just eaten. Use only as directed by a reputable herbal of Ayurvedic medicine, such as Richters catalogue #B1415 "Ayurvedic Herbs" by M.S. Premila. It is usually given as a milk decoction, often with raw sugar or honey.

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