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Nardostachys jatamansi

Nardostachys jatamansi


No documentation.

Vernacular Name

Jatamansi, , jata-manchi, musk root, naswaa, kan sung, indische narde, balchar, sunbulatteb, sambul-e-hindi, span-pos, nard indien. [1]


Nardostachys jatamansi is an upright herb growing to a height of 60 cm, The thin, ovate leaves of N. jatamansi grow vertically directly from the woody rhizome, while the stem yields small, white flowers that grow at the end f the stem, above the height of the leaves. The fruit from the flowers is generally small and white, covered in thin white hairs. Only the root and rhizome make up the medicinal parts of the plant, and they are covered in thin, reddish-brown hairs.

Origin / Habitat

Jatamansi is native to the higher elevations of India, China and Nepal. It is a hardy plant that grows to an elevation of roughly 3,000 to 5000m.

Chemical Constituents

Alpha-patchoulenese, angelicin, beta-eudesemol, beta-patchoulenese, beta-sitosterol, calarene, calarenol, elemol, jatamansin, jatamansinol, jatamansone, n-hexacosane, n-hexacosanol, n-hexacosanyl arachidate, n-hexacosanyl isolverate, nardol, nardostechone, norsechelanone, oroselol, patchouli alcohol, seychelane, seychellen, seychellene, valeranal, valeranone. [1]

Plant Part Used

Root, rhizome. [2]

Traditional Use

Most commonly, the roots and rhizome of Jatamansi are dried and crushed, and an essential oil is extracted. However, infusions, decoctions and powdered root are also traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine. [2] Traditional indications of Jatamansi most often relate to neurological or central nervous system disorders. It has been used to treat certain hysterical affections, nervous headache, epilepsy and general excitement, including heart palpitations. [3] When the essential oil is mixed with sesami oil, it can be applied topically to the head giving a calming effect to the nerves. The same treatment is also used to promote hair growth. Jatamansi has also been used to promote healthy respiratory and digestive systems. [1] The rasa (taste) of Jatamansi has been classified as titka (bitter), kasaya (astringent), and madhura (sweet). It has cooling effect on the body and pacifies the pitta dosha while aggravating the kapha and vata doshas. [1]



Nardostachys jatamansi is primarily used for cognitive and neurological function benefits. Numerous animal studies have displayed the benefits of the extract of N. jatamansi on learning and memory. One study suggests that the improved learning and memory, as well as the reversal of age-related amnesia could be related to the ability of N. jatamansi to facilitate the transmission of acetylcholine in the brain, as well as its activity as an antioxidant. The study suggests that N. jatamansi could be used to treat various cognitive disorders including amnesia, Alzheimer’s and ADHD. [4] Other animal studies suggest that, due to its antioxidant activity, N. jatamansi could be useful in treating Parkinson’s disease and cerebral ischemia. [5][6] N. jatamansi also had a significant overall increase of central monoamines and inhibitory amino acids, and therefore has a potential for use as a neuroprotective. [7] 

In an animal model N. jatamansi demonstrated antidepressant activity via GABAB receptors and a decrease in GABA. [8] N. jatamansi may also have anticonvulsant activity, as it has been shown to significantly increase the threshold of electroshock-induced seizure. [9] 

N. jatamansi demonstrates cardioprotective activities in animal models. Its antioxidant activity reduced cardiac damage in rats, as it restored lipid peroxide and enzyme levels to almost normal. [10][11] 

Liver damage in rats was limited and survival rates were increased when treated with N. jatamansi, therefore suggesting a hepatoprotective role. [12]


No documentation.

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.

Interaction with Drugs

Based on pharmacology, not to be used by individuals with seizure disorders, those taking medication for seizures or those taking medication for depression as use of this herb may alter the effects and dosage of the prescribed medication. [9]

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

No documentation.


Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

Not to be used by children.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

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  1)  Western Herb


  1. Kapoor, LD. CRC Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2001.239.
  2. Nadkarni AK, Indian Materia Medica, Volume 1. 3rd Edition. Bombay: Popular Prakashan Pvt. Ltd;1982.
  3. Thomson Healthcare. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Healthcare Inc; 2007.479.
  4. Joshi H, Parle M. Nardostachys jatamansi improves learning and memory in mice. J Med Food. Spring2006;9(1):113-118.
  5. Ahmad M, Yousuf S, Khan MB, Hoda MN, Ahmad AS, Ansari MA, Ishrat T, Agrawal AK, Islam F. Attenuation by Nardostachys jatamansi of 6-hydroxydopamine-induced parkinsonism in rats: behavioral, neurochemical, and immunohistochemical studies. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. Jan 2006;83(1):150-160.
  6. Salim S, Ahmad M, Zafar KS, Ahmad AS, Islam F. Protective effect of Nardostachys jatamansi in rat cerebral ischemia. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. Jan2003;74(2):481-486.
  7. Prabhu V, Karanth KS, Rao A. Effects of Nardostachys jatamansi on biogenic amines and inhibitory amino acids in the rat brain. Planta Med. Apr1994;60(2):114-117.
  8. Dhingra D, Goyal PK. Inhibition of MAO and GABA: probable mechanisms for antidepressant-like activity of Nardostachys jatamansi DC. in mice. Indian J Exp Biol. Apr2008;46(4):212-218.
  9. Rao VS, Rao A, Karanth KS. Anticonvulsant and neurotoxicity profile of Nardostachys jatamansi in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1Dec2005;102(3):351-356.
  10. Subashini R, Yogeeta S, Gnanapragasam A, Devaki T. Protective effect of Nardostachys jatamansi on oxidative injury and cellular abnormalities during doxorubicin-induced cardiac damage in rats. J Pharm Pharmacol. Feb2006;58(2):257-262.
  11. Subashini R, Ragavendran B, Gnanapragasam A, Yogeeta SK, Devaki T. Biochemical study on the protective potential of Nardostachys jatamansi extract on lipid profile and lipid metabolizing enzymes in doxorubicin intoxicated rats. Pharmazie. May2007;62(5):382-387.
  12. Ali S, Ansari KA, Jafry MA, Kabeer H, Diwakar G. Nardostachys jatamansi protects against liver damage induced by thioacetamide in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. Aug2000;71(3):359-363. 

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