Delivery of new crop starts NOV 1!
ASHITABA (Angelica keiskei koidzumi)
(HACHIJO-SOU, Tomorrow's Leaf)
Family: Carrot (Apiaceae)
Hardiness: To 20 degrees F.
Rare. Native to Hachijojima Island in Japan. The nutritional and health benefits of this high chlorophyll plant are extensive, and ashitaba is unique among the Angelicas due to its tasty edibility and the presence of substantial levels of B12, a vitamin normally not found in terrestrial plants. The plant contains flavonoids known as "chalcones" in its yellow sap. Traditionally, the herb has been used as a rejuvenating food that contributes to long life. Eat the fresh stems of the leaves and dry the leaves and make tea. It is called "tomorrow's leaf" because when harvesting one leaf from the plant, you can expect to see a new one "tomorrow." The plant does indeed rejuvenate itself very quickly, in much the same way as it rejuvenates the human digestion and skin. The herb is considered effective in treating eczema and psoriasis, also disorders of the gastrointestinal system, hepatitis, cancer, anemia, chronic fatigue, etc. In-vivo tests of chalcones have shown strong antibiotic activity against staphylococcus.
Cultivation: Soak seeds overnight in cool, non-chlorinated water and then refrigerate the seeds (approximately 40 degrees F) in moist medium for 30 days. The moist medium could be moist sand, moist potting soil, moist coir or moist peat. Note that our recommendation is MOIST not SODDEN or VERY WET, and that we are recommending REFRIGERATION not FREEZING. After this pretreatment, plant the (still moist) seeds. Sow on surface, barely cover with soil and press in firmly and keep evenly moist until germination. Use a greenhouse, shadehouse or grow lights. Germination occurrs 15 days after sowing. Seedlings are slow-growing and will require about 60 days to transplant. Once past the seedling stage, the plant is fast growing. The plants prefer rich, deep, evermoist, well-drained soil and full sun to part shade. Water every other day. If you are in Arizona, give shade. If you are in Coastal Maine, give sun. The flowering cycle is biennial and the plants are monocarpic.
We are very successful in growing these here in the low mountains of Southern Oregon. I also saw Ashitaba growing successfully near Huize in Yunnan Province, China. The plants were loaded with the yellow resin. Of course, ashitaba is native to and grows well in the most southerly islands of Japan. Light dependent germinator. Short-lived seed. 20 seeds per packet, certified organically grown
No replacements on Ashitaba seed! Ashitaba seeds are PAIRED like the 2 halves of a clam (see photo of clamlike seed germinating as 2 individuals). Technically speaking we should be packaging up 20 "halves" per packet. Practically speaking the seeds are often stuck together, doubles are counted as "1s", and doubles should be planted that way (given the right conditions 2 seedlings will emerge closely together, and can be separated at transplant). If the paired seeds are split apart this does not mean they are "broken." We double-bubble all ashitaba seed shipments to assure that the fragile seeds make it to you in good shape. Actual breakage of seeds once they leave our facility is not the responsibility of Horizon Herbs, LLC. Ashitaba seeds are rare, they are tested viable, they are sold as-is. By ordering this packet, customer agrees to plant the contents of the packet according to directions given, with good attitude (it matters) and without further claims or complaints.
More on Ashitaba: The plants are slow growing at first but once they attain the size of your hand, more or less, they grow very quickly. Mature size is about 4 feet wide and flowering to about 5 feet tall. The plant requires warm temperatures for optimal growth--75 to 85 degrees F. They need at leadst 6 hours sunlight daily to thrive! It is often best to greenhouse them, although coastal climates (such as San Francisco area) seem to work pretty well for outdoor cultivation, and zone 8 growers may find that these plants do fine in regular open garden conditions (Southern California, Florida, Gulf Coast, Etc). We have our's in a large tortuga of layered compost, coir and sand, inside the greenhouse (one layer of plastic) which effectively converts our zone 7 into a zone 8. In other words, keep them in the light, in deep, composty soil, warm and regularly watered, well ventilated, and full of prayers and you will be well rewarded! You can fertilize by side dressing with organic compost every 3 weeks. You can pot them up first to gallons, then to 3 gallons, but the more composty soil your plant has, the bigger and healthier it will get. We eat the chalcone-laden stems daily and haven't been sick once. The plant goes into your body, finds what ails you, and gently but firmly escorts it OUT of your body.
Ashitaba (Angelica keiskei koidzumi) produced a spontaneous flood of chalcones last night. Chalcones are goopy yellow sap, actually a yellow aromatic flavonoid, a ketone pigment, that contribute to the remarkable benefits of this angelic plant. The fresh stems may be eaten as-is and the dried leaves may be made into tea or ground up and added to smoothies or encapsulated. The antioxidant activity of this plant exceeds all other botanicals. The list of activities is long but right off the cuff I can say that it is a yin tonic of great repute, an unequalled longevity herb, capable of helping repair nerve damage, good for detoxifying liver and therefore effective in treating many disorders of the skin and eyes, cleansing to the colon, helps regulate blood pressure abnormalities, and is one of the few effective treatments for Epstein-barr syndrome.
More on how to harvest, consume, and collect seed from ashitaba. The young plant is going to keep making leaves from the center of the crown or stalk. As these leaves mature they begin to go yellow and die back, with new green leaves coming on from the central growth points. The mature leaves are best harvested and used before they get rubbery. Eat the fresh stems daily. Eat the leaves, too, if you like. Or, dry the leaves and make them into tea or tincture (1:4 50%A 50%W). The plant is monocarpic--it is going to grow and make leaves on an ongoing basis until it flowers, and after making its seeds, it is going to die. If you want to keep the plant for another growing cycle, cut back the tops as they begin to bud and the plant will probably go back to vegetative production (stop making flowers). If not allowed to make flowers, it will probably overwinter and give another burst of production the next year. Bring in for the winter in zones 6 and colder, otherwise mulch the crown and look for emergence of new growth in spring. If you let the plant go to flower and want to harvest seeds, be aware that the plant takes about 3 months to produce mature seeds. Wait until the seeds start to turn brown and begin to split apart. At this point you can harvest the umbel, dry it in the shade, and gently tease the seeds apart, freeing them from chaff. Store in cool, dry shade (in a paper packet in a sealed glass jar in the fridge, or in a dark cabinet) for the winter, and plant in the spring.