Indian spikenard is a perennial herb with long, woody rhizomes or an underground stem producing roots covered with fibers and small bunches of pale, pink or blue flowers. The dried rhizomes and roots of this plant constitute the drug. The root of the plant is aromatic, stimulant, bitter tonic and antiseptic. The herb is also known as Indian vallerine. It grows up to 60 cm.
The Indian spikenard yields a volatile oil, which contains an unidentified ester, an alcohol and two alkaloids. The rhizomes of the plant contain jatamansi acid, and an essential oil, which ahs the same uses as the rhizome. As an aromatic, it is an ingredient of many medicinal preparations.
Botanical Name: Nardostachys jatamansi
Indian Name: Jatamansi
Below are some of the medicinal properties of Indian spikenard:
- Jatamansi is beneficial in treating intestinal worms. It can be given to children with a purgative like jalap. For the treatment of threadworms, an enema made of an infusion of the rhizomes can be given.
- It is useful in the treatment of several nervous and convulsive disorders such as hysteria, epileptic fits and certain disturbances caused by menopause. In very small doses it soothes the nervous system and acts as a tranquilizer.
- Jatamansi aids menstruation and regulates the menstrual cycle. It is especially useful in dysmenorrheal – that is, painful and difficult menstruation.
- Jatamansi is a popular hair tonic. It is an important ingredient of many hair washes and hair oils.
- It can be used in the treatment of bronchitis and other disorders of the respiratory system. Doses of 30 to 40 grains with the addition of a little camphor and cinnamon can be taken. It can also be taken as an infusion in doses of 30 to 60 grams, thrice a day.
- Jatamansi is a good cardiac stimulant, and hence useful in treating palpitation of the heart.
- It helps in the treatment of low blood pressure, nervousness and intermittent pulse.