Pukkapedia - Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha

Latin: Withania somnifera

Ashwagandha Plant

Ashwagandha Plant

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera),is one of the most highly prized herbs in the tradition of Ayurveda.Use of the root can be traced back 2000 years and is traditionally considered a rejuvenating or life extending agent. 

Ashwagandha Flower

Ashwagandha Flower

An Ashwagandha flower with perfect symmetry.

Mature fruit and seeds

Mature fruit and seeds

The photo here shows the mature fruits with the seeds. These fruits will be collected at the time of harvest in order to collect seeds for sowing the next crop.

Farmer with fresh Ashwagandha roots

Farmer with fresh Ashwagandha roots

Monish is a farmer from North Karnataka in South India. He grows organic Ashwagandha, as well as Andrographis, Tulsi and Amla. Here he is showing a freshly harvested Ashwagandha root.

Drying Ashwagandha

Drying Ashwagandha

After washing they are laid out to dry. This is a drying tunnel nearby Bangalore in South India. Once the roots are dried to below 8% moisture they are either taken for powdering for use in capsules.

Ashwagandha farmer with the final product

Ashwagandha farmer with the final product

Here Malarayappa is displaying the final Pukka Herbs product in which his organic Ashwagandha is used.

Washing Ashwagandha

Washing Ashwagandha

Once the roots are dry they are taken to a small processing unit nearby where the roots are removed from the stems,and graded into different sizes, before being thoroughly washed.

Freshly harvested Ashwagandha roots

Freshly harvested Ashwagandha roots

The useable part of the Ashwagandha plant is the root. If Ashwagandha plants are given space and left to grow to their full size the roots can become very big. Such large roots can be very fibrous however and are difficult to powder. 

Harvesting organic Ashwagandha

Harvesting organic Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha thrives in the dry climate and alkaline soils of Northern Karnataka. The photo here shows an organic certified farm in Gadag District.

Separating stem from root

Separating stem from root

Some farmers prefer to snap off the root by hand...

Separating stem from root

Separating stem from root

Others prefer to cut the root using a knife.

 

Ashwagandha Primary Processing

Ashwagandha Primary Processing

When the Ashwagandha roots are ready for harvest they are pulled out of the ground by hand and laid out in long rows for drying in the sun.

Dried Ashwagandha Roots

Dried Ashwagandha Roots

Ashwagandha roots after sorting, washing and drying.