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Often identified as “Indian ginseng” or “winter cherry”, ashwagandha is related to potatoes, tomatoes, and goji berries. Ashwagandha is highly regarded in ayurvedic medicine, where the root is used as a dietary supplement. The dried and powdered root strengthens and stimulates the immune system, and is a powerful antioxidant. In Sanskrit,
means "horse" and
"sweat" or "smell of perspiration", implying that the ashwagandha herb builds stallion-like strength. In addition, ashwagandha berries provide an alternative source for rennet, which is essential to home cheese making. Plant grows fresh green, spatulate shaped, spinach-like leaves, out from small woody stems. Sow in full sun to partial shade. Avoid overwatering. Ashwagandha is native to hot and arid climates, but does well in North American gardens if started early indoors. Height 24-48in (60-120cm)
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