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Jatamansi

Scientific Name(s): Nardostachys jatamansi DC. Family: Valerianaceae

Common Name(s): Jatamansi , Sambul lateeb , Sumbul-ut-teeb , balchar

Uses

The plant has a rich history of medicinal use and has been valued for centuries in Ayurvedic (Indian) and Unani (ancient Greco-Arab) systems of medicine. The scientific literature contains primarily phytochemical and animal studies of the plant's activity on the nervous system.

Dosing

None well documented.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use during pregnancy and lactation because of the lack of clinical studies.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

None well documented. Patients with known hypersensitivity reactions should avoid use.

Toxicology

None well documented.

Botany

N. jatamansi is native to the Alpine Himalayas. It is a critically endangered, rhizome-bearing medicinal plant that prefers high altitudes (3,000 to 5,000 m). 1 The genus has 4 to 5 stamens. The calyx consists of 5 well-developed lanceolate or dentate lobes that continue to grow during maturation of the fruit.

History

The plant has a rich history of medicinal use and has been valued for centuries in Ayurvedic (Indian) and Unani (ancient Greco-Arab) systems of medicine. The rhizomes of the plant are used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as a bitter tonic, stimulant, antispasmodic, and to treat hysteria, convulsions, and epilepsy. The root has been medically used to treat insomnia and blood, circulatory, and mental disorders. Some preparations of the plant have been used as a heptotonic, cardiotonic, analgesic, and diuretic in the Unani system of medicine. The plant is of economic importance and has been used to produce perfumes and dyes.

Chemistry

The rhizomes and roots of the plant have medicinal value and, therefore, have been the focus of chemical studies. They contain a variety of sesquiterpenes and coumarins. The sedative sesquiterpene valeranone, which also is found in valerian and other plants, is a major component of the root essential oil, at least in some samples. 2 Other terpenoids include spirojatamol, 3 nardostachysin, 4 jatamols A and B, 5 and calarenol. 6 Coumarins include jatamansin. 7

Uses and Pharmacology

CNS activity
Animal data

Valeranone prolonged barbiturate anesthesia, impaired rotarod performance, inhibited electroshock convulsions, and potentiated the hypothermic effects of reserpine. 8 Limited results from behavioral tests revealed that an extract from N. jatamansi exhibited significant antidepressant activity. 9

A 15-day treatment with an alcoholic root extract of N. jatamansi caused an overall increase in the levels of central monoamines and inhibitory amino acids, including a change in the levels of serotonin, 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid, gamma-amino butyric acid, and taurine in rat brain. 10

Pretreatment with an alcoholic extract dosed at 250 mg/kg of N. jatamansi for 15 days protected rats against focal ischemia caused by middle cerebral artery occlusion. The protective effect may be associated with improving glutathione content, inhibiting lipid peroxidation, and activity on the Na+/K+ ATPase and catalase enzyme systems. 11

Antifungal activity
In vitro data

N. jatamansi essential oil demonstrated fungistatic activity against Aspergillus flavus , Aspergillus niger , and Fusarium oxysporum . 12 , 13

Lipid-lowering activity
Animal data

A 50% ethanolic extract of Curcuma longa (tuber) and N. jatamansi (whole plant) elevated the HDL-cholesterol/total cholesterol ratio in triton-induced hyperlipidemic rats. There also was a reduction in the ratio of total cholesterol/phospholipids. 14

Other pharmacological studies

A hepatoprotective action was observed in rats pretreated with an alcoholic extract of N. jatamansi dosed at 800 mg/kg for 3 days against thioacetamide-induced liver damage. Rats pretreated with the extract also had reduced levels of serum transaminases (alanine and aspartate aminotransferase) and alkaline phosphatase. 15

Dosage

None well documented.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use during pregnancy and lactation because of the lack of clinical studies.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

None well documented. Patients with known hypersensitivity reactions should avoid use.

Toxicology

None well documented.

Bibliography

1. Airi S, Rawal RS, Dhar U, Purohit AN. Assessment of availability and habitat preference of Jatamansi: a critically endangered medicinal plant of west Himalaya. Curr Sci . 2000;79:1467-1471.
2. Hoerster H, Ruecker G, Tautges. Valeranone content in the roots of Nardostachys jatamansi and Valeriana officinalis . Phytochemistry . 1977;16:1070-1071.
3. Bagchi A, Oshima Y, Hikino H. Spirojatomol, a new skeletal sesquiterpenoid of Nardostachys jatamansi roots. Tetrahedron . 1990;46:1523-1530.
4. Chatterjee A, Basak B, Saha M, et al. Structure and stereochemistry of nardostachysin, a new terpenoid ester constituent of the rhizomes of Nardostachys jatamansi . J Nat Prod . 2000;63:1531-1533.
5. Bagchi A, Oshima Y, Hikino H. Jatamols A and B: sesquiterpenoids of Nardostachys jatamansi roots. Planta Med . 1991;57:282-283.
6. Sastry SD, Maheswari ML, Chakravarti KK, Bhattacharyya SC. Terpenoids — CVI: the structure of calarenol. Tetrahedron . 1967;23:1997-2000.
7. Shanbhag SN, Mesta CK, Maheshwari ML, Paknikar SK, Bhattacharyya SC. Terpenoids — LII: jatamansin, a new terpenic coumarin from Nardostachys jatamansi . Tetrahedron . 1964;20:2605-2615.
8. Rucker G, Tautges J, Sieck A, Wenzl H, Graf E. Isolation and pharmacodynamic activity of the sesquiterpene valeranone from Nardostachys jatamansi DC [in German]. Arzneimittelforschung . 1978;28:7-13.
9. Metkar B, Pal SC, Kasture V, Kasture S. Antidepressant activity of Nardostachys jatamansi DC. Indian J Nat Prod . 1999;15:10-13.
10. Prabhu V, Karanth KS, Rao A. Effects of Nardostachys jatamansi on biogenic amines and inhibitory amino acids in the rat brain. Planta Med . 1994;60:114-117.
11. Salim S, Ahmad M, Zafar KS, Ahmad AS, Islam F. Protective effect of Nardostachys jatamansi in rat cerebral ischemia. Pharmacol Biochem Behav . 2003;74:481-486.
12. Mishra D, Chaturvedi RV, Tripathi SC. The fungitoxic effect of the essential oil of the herb Nardostachys jatamansi DC. Trop Agric . 1995;72:48-52.
13. Sarbhoy AK, Varshney JL, Maheshwari ML, Saxena DB. Efficacy of some essential oils and their constituents on few ubiquitous molds. Zentralbl Bakteriol Naturwiss . 1978;133:723-725.
14. Dixit VP, Jain P, Joshi SC. Hypolipidaemic effects of Curcuma longa L and Nardostachys jatamansi , DC in triton-induced hyperlipidaemic rats. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol . 1988;32:299-304.
15. Ali S, Ansari KA, Jafry MA, Kabeer H, Diwakar G. Nardostachys jatamansi protects against liver damage induced by thioacetamide in rats. J Ethnopharmacol . 2000;71:359-363.

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