Ashwagandha or Winter cherry, Withania somnifera
Ashwagandha or Winter cherry (Withania somnifera, family: Solanaceae) is an erect and almost branchless or terete herb, reaching a height of 1-1.5 m. It is a herb of high quality medicinal properties. Root is long and goes deep in soil. The plant is mainly originated in Mediterranean region. As a medicinal plant it can be found in any herb garden of Bangladesh.
Leaves are green, elliptic-ovate, curved, keel, 5-10 long & 2-5 cm wide; tip sub-acte to acute; margin undulate.
Flowers are axillary, small, campanulate, greenish, lobes 5-6.
Fruit is berry, small; green when raw and yellow or red when ripe. Fruit is covered with inflated callyx, which is papery, granular, chinese lantern-like. When dry it get dark brown color. Like many other members of Solanaceae family, its fruit also produces numerous seeds.
Flowering and fruiting occur in September to December. The plant is propagated by seeds.
It is favored for its herbal quality. It is used in physical and nervous weakness, insomnia, bronchitis and sexual problem. Its root is regarded as tonic, alterative, aphrodisiac and is used in consumption, emaciation of children, rheumatism and also as narcotic and diuretic.
Roots and leaves are applied to carbuncles, ulcers and painful swelings. Fruitis diuretic. Seeds are hypnotic, diuretic and used for coagulating milk.
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