jatamansi is an erect perennial herb,10-60cm high, with long, stout,
woody rootstock found in the alpine Himalayas from Punjab to Sikkim and
Bhutan, at altitudes of 3000-5000m.Jatamansi has an agreeable odor with
a bitter aromatic taste and is used as a substitute for valerian. It
yields up to 1.9% of a pale yellow essential oil possesses
antiarrhythmic activity and exerts a hypotensive effect and in moderate
doses it has a distinct depressant action on the central nervous system.
An infusion of rhizome is reported to be useful in epilepsy, hysteria,
palpitation of heart and chorea.
2In Ayurveda, the drug is believed to increase
intellect/memory and is used as tonic and for treating edema.
Traditionally, the drug has been used as a herbal CNS drug in epilepsy,
hysteria and convulsions. The active principle jatamansone was shown to
exert tranquilizing effect in mice and monkeys. In a clinical trial on
hyperkinetic children, jatamansone showed significant reduction in
hyperactivity and improvement in restlessness and aggressiveness almost
at par with D-amphetamine. In a double blind trial using an Ayurvedic
drug containing jatamansi as one of the ingredients and the modern
control drugs Diazepam and placebo, in generalized anxiety disorders,
the drug was found to be more effective in enhancing the perceptual
discrimination and psychomotor performance and offered protection to the
stress induced metabolic changes by decreased urinary output. Thus it
can be safely prescribed in acute and chronic states of anxiety.
3Nardostachys jatamansi is found to alleviate of the symptoms
of the chronic fatigue syndrome due to its antioxidant properties.
4It showed improvement in learning and memory in mice. 5Antidepressant-like
activity of Nardostachys jatamansi is reported in mice.