The roots of the plant resemble the tangled hair of ascetic; hence the plant is named as jatamamsi. Caraka, Susruta, Vagbhata, all the three stalwarts of Ayurveda have recommended jatamamsi most frequently in mental disorders, as a sedative and tranquillizer. Maharsi Caraka has categorized it as kandughna anti pruritic and samjna sthapana one which restores consciousness, also. It is also mentioned to possess unmadaghna an alleviator of hysteria, property. Jatamamsi is a well known brain tonic medhya rasayana. . It imparts sense of calm and peace of mind, which has a benevolent effect on diseases that have a psychological origin.
The herb grows in Alpine Himalayas at an altitude of 3000-5000 metres. It is cultivated from Punjab to Skkim and in Bhutan. It is a perennial herb propogated by cuttings of the underground parts. The plant is about 10-60 cm in height and with stout and long woody root stocks. The leaves are 15-20 cm in height and with stout and long woody root stocks. The leaves are 15-20 cm long, sessile and oblong-ovate in shape. The flowers are rosy, slightly pink or blue in dense cymes. The rhizome is thick, covered with brown fibres and fragrant.
Botanically, jatamamsi is known as Nardostachys jatamansi and it belongs to family Valerianaceae. A volatile essential oil 0.5%, resin, sugar, starch, bitter extractive matter and gum are obtained from the rhizome. The oil contains a ketone, jatamansone, which is the same as valeranone. It also contains jatamansic acid and jatamansone semicarbazone. It lacks coumarins and contains jatamansone and lupeol. New sesquiterpene ketone – jatamansone isolated from rhizomes, malliene and calarene from oil; a new terpenic coumarin – jatamansin and oroselol from roots. A new dietheniod bicyclic ketone – nardostachone from roots.
Jatamamsi is bitter, astringent and sweet in taste, sweet in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates all the three dosas, especially kapha and pitta. It has a special potency (prabhava) as antipsychotic one. It possesses light and sharp attributes.
The roots or rhizomes are used for medicinal purpose. Jatamamsi can be used both, internally as well as externally. The paste prepared in cold water is beneficial to reduce the burning sensation. It also imparts fair complexion to the skin and alleviates the pain and swelling. These properties of jatamamsi are immensely benevolent in the treatment of acne vulgaris. (Dr. Paranjpe Prakash, Evaluation of topical application of herbal formulations in Acne vulgaris: a single blind randomized comparative study. In excessive sweating, jatamamsi powder, being fragrant, is invaluable as a deodorant. In the skin ailments, associated with burning and in erysipelas, the decoction of jatamamsi is poured frequently on the affected areas. The medicated oil for massage is extremely useful for smooth, silky and healthy hair.
Internally, the herb is useful in various diseases. It increases appetite and improves digestion. It is cholegouge, hence useful in hepatitis and enlargement of the liver. It helps relieving the phlegm in cough and asthma. Jatamamsi effectively relieves the symptoms like vertigo, seizures etc in the fever due to vitiation of majjagata pitta. As it improves the quantity of urine, it is salutary in urinary problems like dysuria and inflammation of urinary bladder. Jatamamsi can be of use as an adjunct in the treatment of sexual debility and impotence. It also exerts a cleansing effect on the uterus, hence is used in menstrual ailments like dysmenorrheal and inflammation of the uterus. Combined with dasamula, it works well in postpartum hysteria. It is also beneficial in skin diseases of kapha origin when treated with its decoction. Jatamamsi in large dosage causes vomiting and diarrhea with abdominal pain.
Jatamamsi is one of the best herbs used in the treatment of epilepsy. It combines well with brahmi, vaca, jyotismati and yastimadhu. Jatamamsi ghrta is a very effective anti-epileptic formulation commonly used. The herb exerts calming and soothing effect on mind because of its sattvika attribute. It works as a tranquillizer and a mild sedative, hence, is beneficial in mental stress, hypertension, insomnia and headache. Jatamamsi is one of the medhya resayanas – brin tonics, useful in enhancing the memory. It is a rejuvenative to majja dhatu.
- Mamsi ghrta
- Mamsi taila
- Mamsyadi kvatha
- Raksoghna ghrta
- Sarvausadhi snana etc.