Ashitaba August 22 2013
Ashitaba, AKA "Tomorrow's leaf" -- is the plant that offers many medicinal properties. It is rich in anti-aging properties that helps maintain smooth, young skin. It is high in vitamin B-12, vitamin C, calcium, iron. Ashitaba helps detoxify the liver and kidneys, strengthen cartilages, bones (osteoporosis) and tendons, purifying blood, improving the immune system, treat hypertension, reducing the risk of cancer and the risk of brain disorders and heart problems.
Many mistaken this Ashitaba with others in the Angelica family. The true Ashitaba (scientific name: Angelica keiskei koidzumi) as you can see in the photo -- the potent/medicinal variety has the yellow sap in the stem when it is more mature. I cut the largest stem of mine to show you in the photo. The base of a fully mature Ashitaba is the size of your wrist!
How to eat it?
The entire plant is edible. The yellow sap is most potent and the leaves can be made or boiled as tea. I would describe the taste of stem as a gin and tonic with a celery stick! Sounds pretty exciting right?
How to Grow:
Ashitaba grows best at 75-85F. It prefers the soil to be a little moist. *Note that moist means a little wet, not drowning wet.* Depending on the environment your plant is in. Sometimes the plant may require watering once every few days or once every other day. In the colder days, lesser water is required since soil can retain moisture longer. Keep in mind not to over water or the roots can rot.
In Southern California I grow them in the shade and only gets morning sun. Depends on where you live, some people grow them in greenhouses or with a plastic bag covering over the plant to keep it warmer when it's cold. Ashitaba can tolerate up to 20F, but it will go dormant in the winter. This means the plant will die back during this period, but it should come back in spring/when weather warms up. (Don't assume the plant is dead and throw it out! It is only dormant stage.) Ashitaba requires soil to stay moist, and fertilizing it monthly during its growing period.
Ashitaba is a biennial plant which means it has about 2-3 years lifespan. After it reaches its full life, the mother plant will flower, seed, and die. Depending on the conditions, seeds should sow and baby plants will be reborn.
When it comes to soil, Ashitaba does best in soil-less soil. In this case, I used coconut coconut core mixed with a little bit of compost. Because Ashibata is so nutritious the bugs like it too so growing them in soil-less soil would reduce the chance of bugs eating up your plant!
Please contact me if you are interested or have any questions about this plant. :)
Description is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.