Farming Practices · Sustainability · Transparency · Traceability · Authenticity
The ashwagandha plant used in Shoden® is grown, harvested and processed into Shoden® extract in India. Ashwagandha is a drought-resistant plant grown in sandy or light red soils with good drainage. It is grown in many parts of India, especially in the northwestern and central regions. Our partner’s processing facilities are located in the southwestern part of India, so most of our ashwagandha comes from the relatively close central states of Karnataka through Madhya Pradesh. Here the farms are both small and large, and the farmers are relatively poor, so ashwagandha is an important crop for their livelihood. Ashwagandha is grown from seeds in nursery beds and then transplanted to the fields just before the monsoon season, around August, using traditional farming techniques.
Most aspects of farming are done by hand. Harvest is about six months later. The crop is hardy, does well with manure, and is generally tolerant to pests. Water consumption is minimal and rainwater from the monsoons is usually sufficient. The ashwagandha plant is grown and harvested sustainably. Even for non-organic farming, natural fertilizers and pesticides are generally used.
The manual work involved in harvesting, processing and cleaning ashwagandha allows poor women without education and skills to benefit economically and build communities. Our supply partner has always been on the forefront of adopting sustainable supply chains and has tapped into traditional supply networks for ashwagandha through its relationships with the farmers. To further strengthen the communities where these farmers live, our supply partner supports local schools by helping to build new modern buildings and amenities. They also provide financial assistance to ensure that children receive the education needed to help their community thrive and has also assisted in the construction of homes for underprivileged families. This builds financial support, social structure and community and allows for the underprivileged and poor to make a living wage and help provide opportunities for their children.
Traceability & Purity
With the ultra-high levels of withanolide glycosides in Shoden®, traceability and purity of the incoming raw ashwagandha is critical, there is no room for adulteration or contamination. Quality control staff thoroughly examine each truckload of ashwagandha plants coming in from the farms and each incoming lot is also tested by HP-TLC and other analytical techniques to ensure authenticity, purity and suitability for the exacting processing requirements.
The manufacturing facility itself is modern and clean. Only food-grade ethanol and purified potable water are used in the extraction. The ethanol is recovered and purified, and a high percentage is reused. Our supply partner has invested in harnessing abundant solar power to help sustainability and reduce its carbon footprint. The manufacturing facility has associated dormitories for the manufacturing staff to live in during the processing periods. Free food and lodging are provided to the unskilled manual workers who then can send their payback to their families.
Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Michael Lelah, has visited the ashwagandha farms, talked to the farmers through interpreters, audited the production facilities and examined the quality procedures. This has allowed us to observe and authenticate the total supply chain and better connect us to the people who are making a difference in bringing Shoden® – The World’s Most Bioactive Ashwagandha to market.
Our supply partner manages the entire Indian supply chain – from working with the farmers to procuring the ashwagandha roots and leaves, to directing the lorries for transport, to operating the processing facility, and testing the product at all stages of production. We then schedule the transport logistics to get Shoden® across the ocean into our warehouses and then into your hands.
A special COVID19 pandemic note – Indian herbal extraction facilities are designated essential businesses, and so they are allowed to operate with precautions during lockdowns. This has helped to maintain the supply of ashwagandha and Shoden® extract during these times.