JATIPHALA (Myristica fragrans)
Jatiphala enjoys an important place among medicinal herbs, as an adjuvant, since ancient times. It is one of the best spices for increasing absorption, particularly in the small intestine. It works well in this respect with such spices as ela – cardamom and ardraka – ginger. Commonly it used in the ditchen preparations, especially, sweetmeets, preparations, especially, sweetmeets, because of its aromatic nature. Early writers of Ayurveda Sastra often recommended jatiphala as a kamottejaka – sex stimulant herb and sukrastambhana – which prevents premature ejaculation of seminal fluids. The latter action it possesses because of its astringent taste. Ayurvedic texts mention that astringent taste exerts astringent action, which may be haemostatic i.e. which stops bleeding (rakta stambhana),stops excessive discharge of waste materials as in diarrhea (mala stambhana), or prevents premature ejaculation of semen (sukra stambhana).Jatiphala is one of the best herbs used for sukra stambhana.
The plant is indigenous to Molucca islands and cultivated in Indonesia, West Indies and other tropical countries. In India, it is cultivated in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, upto 750 metres altitude. It is a small evergreen tree of 10-12 metres height. The leaves are alternate, oblong – ovate, 5-12 cm long, dark green but paler beneath. The flowers are creamy yellow in umbellate cymes. The fruits are broadly pyriform, yellow. The seeds broadly ovoid, blunt, covered by fleshy arillus, which is known as jayapatri. The seed is known as jatiphala.
Botanically, jatiphala is known as Myristica fragrans and it belongs to family Myristicaeae. The principal constituents of jatiphala are a fixed oil, volatile oil 3% containing d- pinene, myristin, myristic acid and its ester, myristicin, fatty acidsetc. The stable oil in jatiphala is known as butter of nutmeg. Jatiphala contains as element called mesin. It also contains volatile oil, dehydrodisoeugenol, licarin – B and 3 more neolignans in the aril seven new dimeric pheypropanoids isolated from seeds and their structure determined. Camphene, engenol, isoeugenol, elemicin, limonene, myristicin, and pinenes, safrole, terpineol and terpine – obtained from oil. Fragransols A, B, fragransins D1, D2, D3, and E1 also isolated along with austrobailignans -7. Isolation and structure determination of four new neolignans – fragransol C, fragransol D, myristicanol A and myristicanol B from aril.
Jatiphala is pungent, bitter and astringent in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has hot potency. It alleviates vata and kapha dosas. It possesses light, oily and sharp attributes. Jayapatri, the leaf, is more or less similar in the characteristics to that of jatiphala. It is less astringent, but has few more properties like it alleviates pain, distaste and improves the complexion of the skin. Jatiphala has the chief properties as an appetizer, digestant and stambhana.
Jatiphala and jayapatri are used for medicinal purpose. The plant is useful both, internally as well as externally. The paste of jatiphala is applied in joint pains and headache with great benefit. In skin diseases, the cream is beneficial as a pain killer and deodorant. Themedicated oil of jatiphala is massaged when the limbs or body get cold sensations. The oil is also beneficial in failure of penile erection. In childredn jatiphala works well with sarsapa oil, for massage in colds and headache. In insomnia, the paste applied with ghee on forehead, induces a sound sleep. The paste of jatiphala matted with milk, imparts a glow to the skin in pimples. Its oil is effectively used in dental aches and infections as a pain killer. The foul smelling wounds and ulcers are dressed with its paste on naval region, is said to be effective along with systemic treatment.
Jatiphala internally - Used, effectively increases the appetite, improves digestion, alleviates vata and bestows a liver stimulant action. It promptly controls the loose motions and has a mild anthelmintic property. It imparts an influential mucolytic action, hence is used in colds, cough and asthma to get relief from obstructing phlegm. It works well in dry cough of vata type, also.
Jatiphala is one of the most commonly used ingredients, in aphrodisiac preparations available in market because of its duel actions viz. stimulant and stambhana. It facilitates to prevent the premature ejaculation and avails as a stimulant as well. In women, it ameliorates the pains in dysmenorrheal. In higher doses, it affects the brain and produces symptoms, like that of camphor, viz. tremors, flatulence, vertigo etc. As an antidote, vomiting should be induced with salt and buttermilk.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
Jatiphaladi curnaJatiphaladi vati etc.