Jatamansi

Nardostachys jatamansi

Herbs gallery - Jatamansi

Common names

  • Balchar
  • Indian Spikenard
  • Jatamansi
  • Jatamashi
  • Muskroot
  • Nard
  • Nardin

Jatamansi (botanical name Nardostachys jatamansi) is a perennially growing herb. This is a flowering plant belonging to the Valerian family. Normally, the jatamansi plant grows up to a height of anything between 10 cm and 60 cm, with plump and elongated woody root stocks. The leaves of this herb are long and sessile having oblong or ovate shape. The leaves measure anything between 15 cm and 20 cm in length. This herb bears rosy or somewhat pink or bluish flowers, which appear in dense cymes. The cymes may comprise one, two or five flowers each.

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The rhizomes of jatamansi are chubby, aromatic and covered with brownish fibers. This herb bears oval shaped fruits with a sharp apex that are rather small, measuring just 4 mm in length and are also covered with fine hairs or bristles. Jatamansi mainly grows in the Himalayan region and is currently cultivated commercially in various places including the belt from Punjab to Sikkim in India and neighbouring Bhutan.

Parts used

Rhizome, roots, rhizome oil.

Uses

Jatamansi has various applications and this herb can be used both internally and externally. This herb has a reputation of being an effective brain tonic and the use of this herb makes one feel calm, in addition to imparting peace of mind. Jatamansi is combined with cold water to prepare a paste, which is effective in alleviating inflammation, burning sensation, pain. In addition, application of this paste also helps to improve the texture of the skin.

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Owing to its fragrance, powdered jatamansi is widely used in the form of a deodorant, especially for people who perspire excessively. Moreover, jatamansi powder is also useful in curing mental disorders and mental retardation. Additionally, it normalizes the digestive system of our body, regularizes the functioning of the respiratory tract and, at the same time, it restrains the overall weakness of our body.

A decoction prepared from the whole herb is poured on the various affected areas that are affected by disorders related to burning as well as in the case of erysipelas. Aside from this, the therapeutic jatamansi oil is also very beneficial for healthy, smooth and silky hair.

Jatamansi is also effective for treating problems related to the urinary system. It also promotes the circulatory system. This herb also enhances appetite, provides relief from phlegm when one is suffering from asthma and/ or cough. It has also been proven that jatamansi is helpful in treating hepatitis, in addition to curing liver enlargement.

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This herb is often used in the form of an adjunct while treating impotence and sexual debility. In addition, jatamansi provides relief from several conditions and their symptoms such as seizures, vertigo and others. This herb is widely used for alleviating fever and its related symptoms. Since jatamansi helps to cleanse the uterus, this herb is often used for treating problems related to menstruation such as inflammation of the uterus and dysmenorrhea.

Jatamansi also works to prevent formation of gas as well as fermentation in the stomach. In fact, this herb is believed to be among the best natural medicines for treating hysteria and epilepsy. It also works to alleviate restiveness, hyperactivity as well as aggressiveness, especially in hyperactive children.

The rhizome of this herb is supposed to be an effective stimulant, tonic, diuretic, emmenagogue, and deobstruent, laxative and stomachic. In addition, it possesses anti-spasmodic properties. An infusion prepared from the rhizome of jatamansi herb is said to be effective in treating respiratory problems, palpitation of the heart, nervous excitement and even leprosy. Similarly, a tincture prepared from the rhizome of the herb is administered for treating flatulence and colic. It has been established that the rhizome of the herb possesses hair growth and revitalization properties. The roots also possess amazing properties that help to reinforce the brain.

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The roots of the herb as well as the oil extracted from them are employed for combating several skin complaints such as rashes, and allergies.

In addition to those discussed above, jatamansi offers several other health benefits. It is effective in treating hepatitis, cholera and enlargement of the liver. This herb also possesses expectorant properties, which make it valuable for treating asthma, cold, cough and fever. The essential oil obtained from jatamansi is employed to alleviate headaches, cure insomnia and several related health conditions. Tibetans use this herb extensively for making incenses with healing properties.

Jatamansi is also given to people with poor appetite. The essential oil of this herb is employed in the form of a deodorant, since its fragrance is soothing as well as pleasing. This essential oil is extensively used for improving and revitalizing mature skin. In addition, jatamansi essential oil is also used for ensuring smooth, healthy and silky hair.

The essential oil extracted from jatamansi is also used in aromatherapy. Moreover, this oil is employed by the soap manufacturing and cosmetic as well as fragrance industries. This oil is widely used for soap making and manufacture of skin lotions, body fragrances, bath oils in addition to several cosmetic products. Jatamansi essential oil is also used for making incense, fresheners, scenting towels and various other purposes. The dried out fragrant leaves of jatamansi are also used in the form of incense.

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This essential oil is particularly useful in curing problems related to urine, which includes treating kidney stones and also fevers. Usually, this herb is used in combination with several other herbs to treat these conditions. Jatamansi also helps in treating menstrual issues and it is an effective herbal medication for cleansing the uterus. Simultaneously, decoctions prepared from this herb are helpful in treating hepatitis. These decoctions are also useful for dealing with problems related to the digestive system, such as poor digestion, lack of appetite, constipation and flatulence.

Jatamansi also possesses antiseptic properties. A decoction prepared from the root of the herb is applied to rashes, allergies and other affected skin areas such as burn injuries, eczema, wounds and infections. The oil extracted from this herb is also used for massaging the head and is effective in alleviating headaches.

The other therapeutic uses of jatamansi include treating a variety of urinary tract infections. Use of jatamansi is very useful for treating dysuria. Since this herb has a cleansing influence on the uterus, it is effective in treating dysmenorrhea, a condition wherein women experience very painful menstruation. Jatamansi is considered to be among the best herbs available for treating epilepsy. In addition, it is also effective in treating other conditions like hypertension and insomnia. The therapeutic properties of this herb are also effective for improving memory. Moreover, jatamansi is also a rejuvenator.

A paste prepared with this herb with cold water is effective in controlling the skin's burning sensation. Aside from promoting the skin's complexion, jatamansi is also helpful in reducing pain as well as edema. In addition, it is said that this herb is effective in the treatment of acne vulgaris.

Habitat and cultivation

Jatamansi plants are primarily found in the Chinese side of the Himalayan region. However, this plant is also found in the northern regions of the adjoining countries India and Nepal, especially in the foothills of the Himalayas. Occasionally these plants are also found growing in the wild in places like open grassy and stony slopes. Currently, jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) has been listed as an endangered species.

Commercial cultivation: These days, jatamansi is also cultivated commercially. This herb grows well in sandy loam soil having excellent drainage. In addition, the soil should have loads of carbon and organic nitrogen to ensure the proper growth of these plants. Jatamansi grows excellently when they are cultivated in places where they are shielded from exposure to direct sunlight. They have a preference for light shade.

In order to ensure the proper growth of jatamansi plants, you need to water them regularly. These plants flourish when grown in steep land at elevations between 1,800 meters and 2,200 meters. Their growth is excellent when cultivated on slopes ranging between 25° and 45°.

Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) is propagated by a number of methods, including divisions of the plants' parts that remain underground and via cuttings. Occasionally, they are also propagated by their seeds. However, propagation from the plants' root cuttings is preferred to growing them from their seeds because the former method results in faster growth of the plants. The flowers of jatamansi appear during June and July and the plants bear fruits between August and October. The entire leaves of the herb start turning yellow at the beginning of October. Eventually, the plants die and lie buried beneath the snow during the winter months. They return to life from the buried rhizomes during summer in the subsequent year.

Constituents

The hairy roots of jatamansi herb contain:

  • A and B pinene
  • A carene
  • angelic acid
  • angelicin
  • B eudesmol
  • b-sitosterol
  • dihydrojatamansin
  • jatamansic acid
  • jatamansin
  • jatamansinol
  • jatamansinone
  • jatamansone
  • lemol
  • lupeol
  • nardosinone
  • nardosta-chone
  • oroselol
  • oroselone
  • seselin
  • valeranal
  • valeranone

Jatamansi's rhizome also contains alkaloid called actinidin.

Side effects and cautions

Like in the case of any other herb, you should check with a physician or a professional practitioner of herbal medicine before you start taking jatamansi. Usually, this herb is safe for most people, but when consumed in excessive dosages, it may cause certain undesirable side effects, including diarrhea accompanied by nausea, abdominal pains, urinary problems and colic. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should essentially consult their physician before taking jatamansi.

Collection and harvesting

The roots of jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) are harvested between September and December. Usually, these roots or rhizomes are collected by pulling them out from the ground. In fact, the entire jatamansi plant is pulled out of the ground with the help of a spade like hand-held tool locally known as "koto". The rhizomes of this herb are gathered after removing the roots and leaves.

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