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Plant Information

Scientific Name: Withania somniferia
Alternative Names: Geneesblaarbossie (Afr), Winter cherry (Eng), Ubuvimbha (Zu), Ubuvuma (Xho), Bofepha (So)

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Withania somniferia
Withania somniferia


  • Perennial
  • Indigenous to South Africa.
  • Upright evergreen shrub - mealy stems and ovate leaves.
  • Small green to yellowish flowers in short clusters in the leaf axils - followed by small orange-red berries, enclosed in a brown papery inflated calyx.
  • Frost hardy.
  • Drought resistant.
  • Sun/ partial shade.
  • Cut back in spring.

Culinary Uses

  • Seeds are used to coagulate milk

Parts Used

  • Whole plant: roots, fruits, leaves and root bark

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Also called Indian Ginseng - because it is used the same way than Indian ginseng!
  • Bitter-sweet, astringent, warming herb with a horse-like smell.
  • Acts on the reproductive system - impotence and infertility.
  • Stimulate uterus - induce contractions in prolonged labour/ retained placenta. Aprodisiac.
  • Nervous system, sedative, insomnia, rejuvenate.
  • Debility, convalescence, geriatric complaints, waisting diseases and failure to thrive in children.
  • Help epilepsy, joint-, nerve and rheumatic pains.
  • Roots: ingredient in Ayurvedic tonic formulas - multiple sclerosis, asthma, tonics.
  • Externally: Wound healing, open cuts, swelling, burns, stings, abscesses, inflammation,
  • hemorrhoids, rheumatism and syphilis.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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