Nardostachys jatamansi (D.Don) DC.

Last updated: 05 Oct 2016

Scientific Name

Nardostachys jatamansi (D.Don) DC.


Felia grandiflora Wall. ex DC. [Invalid], Fedia jatamansi Wall. ex DC. [Invalid], Nardostachys chinensis Batalin, Nardostachys grandiflora DC., Patrinia jatamansi D.Don, Valeriana jatamansi D.Don [Illegitimate]. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Nard, spikenard [2]
India Akashamansi, amritajata, balacharea, balachhada, balchhar, balchir, baluchar, bhutajata, bhutakeshi, bhuti-jatt, chakravartani, gandhamansi, gauri, hinsra, jadamansi, janani, jatala, jatalasi, jatamamshi, jatamansi, jatamanshi, jatavali, jati, jatila, jetamanshi, kalichhad, kanuchara, keshi, khasambhava, kiratini, kravyadi, krishnsjata, kukili-pot, laghumansi, limasha, mansi, mansini, mashi, masi, massi, mata, mishika, misi, mrigabhaksha, nahni, nalada, niralemba, parvatavasini, peshi, peshini, pishachi, pishita, putena, sevali, shvetakeshi, sukshmajatamansi, suksh-mapatri, sumbul, tamasi, tapasvini, behnini [2]
Nepal Bhulte,jatamansi, naorochi, naswan, pangbu, pangphoie [2]
Bhutan Spang-spos [2]

Geographical Distributions

Nardostachys jatamansi is native to the higher elevations of India, China and Nepal. [3]

Botanical Description

N. jatamansi is a member of Caprifoliaceae family [1]. It is an upright herb growing to a height of 60 cm [4].

The rosulate leaves are narrowly spatulate or linear-oblanceolate. The petiole is subequal to leaf blade in length. The blade is measure 3-25 × 0.5-2.5 cm, glabrous or sparsely puberulent, has 3 veins, base attenuate, margin entire, and apex is obtuse. The cauline leaves are mostly 2- or 3-paired, lowermost elliptic to obovate, and the base is attenuate into petiole. The uppermost sessile is oblanceolate to lanceolate, sometimes sparsely serrate. The capitula is measure 1.5-2 cm in diameter. The primary peduncles are sometimes elongated. It has 4-6 involucral bracts that are lanceolate in shape. The bracts are narrowly ovate to ovate, subequal to flowers in length. [4]

The calyx has 5-lobed that are semiorbicular to triangular-lanceolate, enlarged in fruit, usually ciliate. [4]

The corolla is purple-red, pink, or magenta, campanulate, 4.5-9 mm with 5-lobed. The lobes are broadly ovate to oblong, 2-3.8 mm, outside ± villous, occasionally glabrous. [4]

The stamens are subequal to corolla in length and the filaments are villous. [4]

The style is subequal to stamens in length and the stigma is capitate. [4]

The seeds are obovoid, 3-4 mm, partially or uniformly white hispid or glabrate. [4]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

N. jatamansi has been reported to contain α-patchoulenese, angelicin, β-eudesemol, β-patchoulenese, β-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, and valeranone. [5]

Plant Part Used

Roots and rhizomes. [6]

Traditional Use

Most commonly, the roots and rhizome of N. jatamansi are dried and crushed, and an essential oil is extracted. However, infusions, decoctions and powdered root are also traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine. [6]

Traditional indications of N. 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. [7]

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. N. jatamansi has also been used to promote healthy respiratory and digestive systems. [5]

The taste of N. 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. [5]

Preclinical Data


Neuroprotective activity

Three doses (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg, p.o.) of an ethanolic extract of N. jatamansi were administered for 8 successive days to both young and aged mice. The 200 mg/kg dose of N. jatamansi ethanolic extract significantly improved learning and memory in young mice and also reversed the amnesia induced by diazepam (1 mg/kg, i.p.) and scopolamine (0.4 mg/kg, i.p.). Furthermore, it also reversed aging-induced amnesia due to natural aging of mice. [8]

An oral administration of an alcoholic extract of the roots of N. jatamansi that was studied in male albino Wistar rats did not change the level of NE and DA but resulted in a significant increase in the level of 5-HT and 5-HIAA. A significant increase in the level of GABA and taurine was observed in the drug-treated groups when compared to the controls. A 15-day treatment resulted in a significant increase in the levels of NE, DA, 5-HT, 5-HIAA, and GABA. [9]

Antioxidant activity

Ethanol extract of N. jatamansi roots has been demonstrated to exhibit antioxidant activity by significantly decreased the neuronal injury in a 6-OHDA-rat model of Parkinson’s. [10]

Other animal study also showed the antioxidant activity of N. jatamansi extract by significantly decreased the activities of Na(+)K(+) ATPase and catalase. [11]

Antidepressent-like activity

Ethanolic extract (100, 200 and 400 mg/kg, po) of N. jatamansi administered for 14 successive days to Swiss young albino mice (either sex) produced significant antidepressant-like effect in both tail suspension and forced swim tests. The efficacy of the extract was found to be comparable to imipramine (15 mg/kg, po) and sertraline (20 mg/kg, po). [12]

Anticonvulsant activity

Ethanol extract of the roots of N. jatamansi was studied for its anticonvulsant activity and neurotoxicity, alone and in combination with phenytoin in rats. The results demonstrated a significant increase in the seizure threshold by N. jatamansi root extract against maximal electroshock seizure (MES) model as indicated by a decrease in the extension/flexion (E/F) ratio. [13]

Cardioprotective activity

Ethanolic extract of N. jatamansi rhizomes has demonstrated cardioprotective activities in animal models. Its antioxidant activity reduced cardiac damage in rats, as it restored lipid peroxide and enzyme levels to almost normal. [14][15]

Hepatoprotective activity

Ethanolic extract (50%) of the rhizomes of N. jatamansi is shown to possess hepatoprotective activity. Pretreatment of rats with the extract (800 mg/kg body wt, orally) for three consecutive days significantly ameliorated the liver damage in rats exposed to the hepatotoxic compound thioacetamide. Elevated levels of serum transaminases (aminotransferases) and alkaline phosphatase, observed in thioacetamide alone treated group of animals, were significantly lowered in N. jatamansi pretreated rats. [16]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Side effects

Not to be used internally by individuals with neurological conditions without consulting a physician. [8][9]

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women. [17]

Age limitation

No documentation.

Adverse reaction

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

Interaction with drug

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. [13]

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation.


No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. nardostachys jatamansi (D.Don) DC. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mac 23; cited 2016 Oct 05]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 246-247.
  3. IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature. India’s wild medicinal plants threatened by over-exploitation. [homepage on the Internet]. c2016 [updated 2008 Nov 24; cited 2016 Oct 05). Available from:
  4. Flora of China. Nardostachys jatamansi (D. Don) Candolle. [homepage on the Internet]. no date [cited 2016 Oct 07]. Available from:
  5. Kapoor LD. Handbook of Ayurvedic medicinal plants: Herbal references library. Volume 2 of herbal references library. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2001, p. 239.
  6. Nadkarni AK. Indian material medica. Volume 1. 3rd Edition. Bombay: Popular Prakash Pvt. Ltd.; 1982.
  7. Thomson Healthcare. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Healthcare Inc; 2007, p. 479.
  8. Joshi H, Parle M. Nardostachys jatamansi improves learning and memory in mice. J Med Food. 2006;9(1):113-118.
  9. Prabhu V, Karanth KS, Rao A. Effects of Nardostachys jatamansi on biogenic amines and inhibitory amino acids in the rat brain. Planta Med. 1994;60(2):114-117.
  10. Ahmad M, Yousuf S, Khan MB, et al. Attenuation by Nordastachys jatamansi of 6-hydroxydopamine-induced parkinsonism in rats: Behavioral, neurochemical, and immunohistochemical studies. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2006;83(1):150-160.
  11. Salim S, Ahmad M, Zafar KS, Ahmad AS, Islam F. Protective effect of Nardostachys jatamansi in rat cerebral ischemia. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003;74(2):481-486.
  12. Dhingra D, Goyal PK. Inhibition of MAO and GABA: Probable mechanisms for antidepressant-like activity of Nardostachys jatamansi DC. in mine. Indian J Exp Biol. 2008;46(4):212-218.
  13. Rao VS, Rao A, Karanth KS. Anticonvulsant and neurotoxicity profile of Nardostachys jatamansi in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;102(3):351-356.
  14. 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. 2006;58(2):257-262.
  15. 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. 2007;62(5):382-387.
  16. Ali S, Ansari KA, Jafry MA, Kabeer H, Diwakar G. Nardostachys jatamansi protects against liver damage induced by thioacetamide in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;71(3):359-363.
  17. Singh J. Jatamansi (spikenard) – Nardostachys jatamansi. Ayur Times Scientific Analysis & Critical Reviews. [serial online]. 2016 [cited 2016 Oct 10]. Available from: