Nardostachys grandiflora syn jatamansi – Rhizoma (Valerianaceae)
Common name: Indian spikenard
Sanskrit: Jatamansi, Bhutajata
Jatamansi means ‘whose flesh is like a dreadlock’; it is known as Jatamansi because its roots resembles the matted hair of the Himalayan ascetics. It has a superb rejuvenating effect on the mind. It is a sought after nervous relaxant and anti-spasmodic.
Jatamansi grows at altitudes of between 3000-5000m and is native to the alpine Himalayas. It grows to heights of around 1 metre. It is a critically endangered plant and is CITES Appendix 3 listed. It is a flowering plant of the honeysuckle family that produces beautiful and delicate pink, bell-shaped flowers. It produces thick rhizomes that produce a particularly fragrant essential oil.
How it Works
The roots of this plant contain a number of valued medicinal constituents such as sesquiterpenes and coumarins. Valeranone is a sesquiterpene also found in the Valerian family and has profound effects upon the central nervous system, working primarily as a relaxant.
Into the Heart of Jatamansi
The medicinal properties of jatamansi are focussed within the central nervous system. It has a profound ability to relax the nervous system and take effect throughout the body. It is an excellent remedy where a particular symptom or condition is exacerbated by stress. It is classed as a nervine but will also relieve muscular cramping and spasms, worsened by nervous tension, particularly within the digestive and cardiovascular system. It is very nourishing for an exhausted nervous system, clearing any excessive heat and irritation.
The strong and pungent essential oils found in jatamansi have also made it a very penetrating herb that can clear congestion within the mind, creating a sense of clarity and providing relief from ‘mental fog’ Its penetrating qualities also make jatamansi a good choice for relieving pain and discomfort caused by congestion, particularly in conditions of the female reproductive tract.
Nervous: Jatamansi is indicated in hysteria, nervousness, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and insomnia. It both cools and nourishes a ‘hot’ and ‘exhausted’ nervous system. It enhances the intellect and induces mental clarity. Its ‘penetrating quality’ is useful in clearing headaches and ‘mental fog’.
Heart: Indicated where there are palpitations, angina and hypertension, particularly where this is aggravated by elevated stress levels.
GIT: Excellent for digestive cramps, borborygmus, flatulence, bloating and constipation with dry, hard and gaseous stools. It relaxes the bowel and encourages peristalsis inhibited by tension.
Gynaecology: Jatamansi’s penetrating and warm quality is useful in dysmenorrhoea with dragging pain, ovarian discomfort, lower abdominal distension and pain.
Lungs: Jatamansi is helpful in spasmodic coughs, asthma, whooping cough and lung weakness.
Hair: Jatamansi has a special use for promoting hair growth, preventing hair loss and greying hair.
Skin: It is highly valued for skin disorders with a nervous component, especially where there is itching and burning sensations.