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Sanskrit Name - Jatamansi
Botanical Name - Nordostachys jatamansi
Family - Valerianaceae
Common Names - Bhootjata, Tapaswini, Sulomsha, Nalada, Jatamansi, Bhutijatt, Kukilipot, Hasva, Nasava, Pampe, Sumbulutib, Narde Hindi, Spikenard
Jatamansi or Balchara is a plant which is considered to possess hypno-sedative properties according to Ayurveda. It has been extensively used in treating insomnia, hysteria and depression. Apart from these ailments or disorders, Jatamansi has been prescribed in ailments such as stomach ache, flatulence, liver problems, jaundice, kidney problems, headache, epilepsy, intestinal colic and in menopausal symptoms as well.
Jatamansi belongs to the plant family of Valerianaceae. This is a flowering plant which grows in West and South Asia. In south Asia, it mainly grows in sub-Himalayan regions, Nepal, Sikkim and in China as well. The plant grows to about 1 meter in height with long ovate leaves and bell shaped and pink flowers. Jatamansi is a round the year plant whose roots or rhizomes are used in Ayurvedic medicines.
The bio-chemicals extracted from the roots of Jatamansi are rich in sesquiterpenes and coumarins. Some of the bio-chemicals include Jatamansone or valeranone, which is the principal sesquiterpene. Other sesquiterpenes include nardostachone, dihydrojatamansin, jatamansinol, jatamansic acid, jatamansinone, jatamansinol, oroseolol, oroselone, seselin, valeranal, nardostachyin, nardosinone, spirojatamol, jatamol A and B, calarenol, seychellene, seychelane and coumarin: jatamansin or xanthogalin. A new sesquiterpene acid, nardin and new pyranocoumarins: 2’, 2’-dimethyl-3’-methoxy-3’and 4’-dihydropyranocoumarin have been extracted. Actinidine, an alkaloid has also been extracted from this plant.
- Promotes intellect: Jatamansi has been believed to be an intellect promoter, according to Ayurveda. The root formulation was given to those who suffered mental illnesses, depression and in cases of insanity as well. Studies on this effect have reported an increase in the memory and learning capability in mice.
- Reduces convulsions: Convulsions are involuntary seizures which are characterized by spontaneous, and rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles of a person. These convulsions can be reduced by taking Jatamansi root preparation. Scientific studies have shown that convulsions can be controlled to a significant extent by Jatamansi root extracts.
- Anti-depressant properties: Often, Jatamansi was prescribed in Ayurveda for depression. This claim of depression reducing property of Jatamansi was put to test. Tests results have shown that the levels of depression reduced significantly. Apart from the reduction of depression levels, the amount of serotonin secreted in the nervous system had also increased in the presence of Jatamansi.
- Reduction in insomnia, aggressiveness and stubbornness: Reduction in insomnia, aggressiveness and stubbornness in children was reported after administering a particular bio-chemical named jatamansone. Sleeplessness, aggressive behaviour, restlessness, etc. were studied on hyperactive children and results were encouraging.
- Can reduce Parkinson’s: Parkinson’s disease has been associated with high oxidative stress developing in the body. The extracts of Jatamansi with anti-oxidant properties were administered to lab rats which showed an increase in the neuroprotective and anti-oxidant activity in their bodies suggesting reduction in Parkinson’s symptoms.