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Jatamansi: The “Wonder” Herb for Depression: Uses, Benefits, & Side-Effects

nardostachys grandiflora

Did you know that an ancient Indian Ayurvedic herb has been mentioned in the Bible? Hint: It occurs when Mary of Bethany rubs Jesus’s feet with its ointment. Can you guess what it is?

Jatamansi Shloka
Jatamansi Shloka

It is Spikenard or Muskroot (English name), which back home goes by the name of Jatamansi (Sanskrit name) or Bhootkeshi (Hindi name). Circling back to its scientific roots (pun not intended), Jatamansi’s botanical name is Nardostachys Jatamansi and it belongs to the Valerian family. This herb is typically found in the Himalayan region, Nepal, and China, and blooms with beautiful pink, bell-shaped flowers.


Spikenard Fun Facts

  • This plant has been used by the Egyptians, Romans, and Europeans throughout history.
  • It has also been used in the Unani (ancient Greco-Arab) and Traditional Chinese medicinal systems. The rhizomes of Jatamansi are referred to as “Gansong” in traditional Chinese medicine, whereas in ancient Japanese medicine – or Kampo as it is popularly known – it is referred to as “Kanshoko.”
  • It is also used to manufacture perfumes and dyes.


Jatamansi’s Multi-Dimensional Uses

Jatamansi Root
Jatamansi Root

The Jatamansi plant is prized for its potent roots. Basically, its underground stems or rhizomes are used for treating a variety of diseases and health issues. Typically, this herb is crushed and refined into an oil. This fragrant essential oil comes with a wide spectrum of benefits relating to health, religious, or even cosmetics.

The Jatamansi oil is perhaps the most sought after and rightly so. The Spikenard essential oil is made from resin that’s extracted from this plant. Being amber-coloured and possessing an intense, spicy, and woody fragrance – this oil is a must-have for people suffering from sleep- and stress-related issues.


Ayurvedic Features: At A Glance

  • Taste: Bitter, astringent, sweet
  • Characteristics: Light
  • Potency: Cool, calm
  • Digestive effect: Pungent
  • Effect on Tridosha: Cools down all three doshas: Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha


Jatamansi’s Medicinal Properties

  • Anti-depressant
  • Anti-stress
  • Anti-fatigue
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory agent
  • Laxative
  • Cognitive-enhancing
  • Hepatotonic
  • Cardio-tonic
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-convulsive
  • Anti-epileptic
  • Diuretic
  • Nootropic


Ayurvedic Medicines with Jatamansi as the Primary Ingredient

  • Sarpagandha Ghan Vati: Treats high BP and insomnia.
  • Aravindasavam: Improves digestion, bodily strength, and increases body weight in children.
  • Dhanwanthararishtam: Enhances low digestive power and treats lower back pain.
  • Dashang Lepa: Treats fever, skin diseases, and headaches when used externally.


Jatamansi’s Wide-Ranging Benefits

jatamansi root large
jatamansi root large

The Jatamansi herb helps improve the digestive and female reproductive systems while boosting your immune system and keeping diseases at bay. Its other benefits have been detailed below:


Jatamansi For Hair

Jatamansi’s multi-purpose benefits for the hair are too many to count. Suffering from dandruff? Experiencing unusually high hair fall and premature greying? Want shiny, voluminous black hair? Wish to promote hair growth? You can achieve all this and more with Jatamansi which acts as a powerful hair tonic. It’s been scientifically proven that Nardostachys Jatamansi oil used topically increased hair growth by 30% in mice.

Try this remedy suggested by Acharya Nityanandam Shree: Mix Jatamansi powder with Mehendi and apply this paste on your hair. Keep for a few hours and wash it off. Alternatively, you can infuse the Jatamansi herb in coconut/sesame oil overnight. Apply on the hair roots the next day and feel the difference.


Jatamansi Oil For Body And Skin

Oil extracted from Jatamansi’s rhizomes is an active part of the aromatherapy as it can relax the body and the mind. Its aromatic smell is musky and earthy. Plus, it naturally brings down the body’s heat and soothes the skin. That’s not all. This oil is known to alleviate pain and treat inflammatory issues as well. Plus, it acts as a natural brain tonic which strengthens the nervous system and doubles up as a great stress buster.

Suggested Remedy: Acharya Nityanandam Shree suggests you cut Jatamansi’s roots into smaller parts and infuse it in coconut oil. Use this to massage your skin and body, and witness bodily pain just vanish!


Chronic Stress/Excessive Anxiety

An adaptogen by nature, it acts as a calming agent for reducing oxidative stress and enhancing your mood.

Suggested Remedy: Acharya Nityanandam Shree suggests that you mix 1 gm of the powder with warm water and consume twice a day – in the morning and the evening.


Nervous Disorders Such As Epilepsy/Hysteria/Convulsions

A study conducted by Indian scientists in 2005 claimed that ethanol content in Jatamansi helped in controlling seizures. It is recommended to use Jatamansi in combination with other herbs which can prevent “fits” in the future and boost brain function. Plus, Jatamansi can reduce cataleptic episodes and help treat Dyskinesia, Parkinson’s Disease, and Catalepsy.


Insomnia & Sleep Disorders

Studies suggest that this herb also acts as a powerful antidote for sleeplessness and helps enhance the quality of sleep. Research claims that around four grams of Nardostachys Jatamansi consumed 3 times a day decreased the time to fall asleep by 61% while increasing the amount of sleep by 48% in 34 patients with insomnia.

Suggested Remedy: Mix one tsp of this herb powder with warm buffalo or nut milk for blissful sleep. Conversely, as a part of your bedtime routine, you can mix a few drops of the Jatamansi essential oil with a drop of lemon and a drop of frankincense and use this blend to massage your feet or apply it at the crown of your head. You can also add your favourite carrier oil to it for added soothing benefits.

Expert Tip: Wearing socks after the foot massage helps trap the beautiful smell in your surroundings and saves your bed sheet from getting dirty!


Memory-Enhancing Abilities

A rich-antioxidant, Jatamansi aids in boosting your memory while improving other cognitive functions and preventing memory degeneration. People suffering from dementia can also take this herb as it helps in treating forgetfulness as people age.


Depression & Related Symptoms

The Jatamansi root is known to possess therapeutic benefits which can be helpful when the headaches and mood swings set in. Traditionally, Nardostachys Jatamansi was primarily used to create a mixture of herbs called Mamsyadi Kwatha (which contains around 80% Jatamansi) that was used to treat depression and anxiety. Interestingly, Jatamansi can also eliminate negative thoughts by channelizing mental energies in the right direction and aid in reducing fatigue – a common symptom of depression.

Suggested Remedy: Acharya Nityanandam Shree suggests you put a mixture of Jatamansi powder and almond oil/coconut oil/mustard oil on your head.


Hormonal Health/Reproductive Issues

This herb helps relieve cramps, ease out period pain, and regulate your periods. Plus, it can stimulate, cleanse, and treat uterus inflammation. If you want healthy ovaries, this should be your go-to herb as it can balance estrogen and progesterone production. It also acts as a wonderful aphrodisiac to treat impotence. One herb, infinite benefits!


Blood Pressure

Jatamansi is the best natural remedy for treating hypertension and high blood pressure as it lowers BP by dilating the arteries. By extension, it also helps prevent heart diseases, diabetes, and kidney failure.


Skin-Enhancing Properties

Jatamansi is a God-send when it comes to treating skin conditions and fights off bacterial/fungal infections. Spikenard oil heals fungal infections like toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. Plus, it has other benefits: One, it can improve your complexion. Two, it makes your skin glow. Three, it can heal cuts and wounds. Four, it helps treat itchy skin and rashes that cause redness. Five, it also helps address other skin-related issues such as burning sensation, bacterial infections, and herpes.

Suggested Remedy: You can use the Jatamansi essential oil to exfoliate your skin. Conversely, Acharya Nityanandam Shree suggests you create your own skin tonic by mixing Jatamansi powder with your preferred skin oil choice. Apply it on affected areas and see the difference. Another thing you can try is consuming 1/2gm Jatamansi powder along with 2 Kaya Kalp Vati capsules twice a day for glowing, clear skin.


Blood Purifier

Jatamansi helps balance the Pitta dosha and thus, purifies your blood effectively.


Digestive & Heart Health

If you’re looking at improving your gut and heart health, you should definitely give it a try. Plus, Jatamansi helps relieve pain related to constipation, gas, and bloating.

Suggested Remedy: Boil some Jatamansi leaves, and strain it. Consume this decoction as a herbal tea. This decoction also helps treat kidney stones.


Nutritional Information & Dosage

Note that this herb is bitter tasting in nature. So you can consume 1-3 gm of Jatamansi powder along with honey, ghee, or water as per your preference.

Important: Embracing a “better safe than sorry approach,” please consult your doctor to understand the recommended dosage basis your body type, age, underlying issues, allergy history, etc.


Jatamansi’s Side-Effects & Precautionary Measures

  • Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid using this herb.
  • Women experiencing heavy bleeding during their period should consult a doctor before consuming it.
  • People suffering from high blood pressure should consult their doctor before consuming Jatamansi.
  • Overdosing on Jatamansi can cause loose stools, nausea and vomiting.
  • Consuming it in excess may also cause frequent urination and abdominal cramps in some people.
  • Spikenard essential oil may cause eye irritation.
  • People suffering from hypersensitivity should avoid it.

Important: Please consult your doctor before taking this herb in any form just as a precautionary measure.


Where You Can Buy It Online

There are a number of popular brands that sell the herb in the powder, oil, or capsule form. Note that this herb is slightly on the pricier side as it is difficult to harvest high up in the Himalayas. Some of the brands that sell it include:

  • Jatamansi Natural Healthlife Care: If you’re looking to buy Jatamansi powder, you can try Natural Healthlife Care. The recommended dose for the powder is1/2-1 tsp to be taken two times a day.
  • Amalth Jatamansi Extract: This Jatamansi extract (500 mg) comprises 60 veg capsules.
  • PRZ Spikenard (Jatamansi) Essential Oil: Care must be taken not to apply this essential oil in its undiluted form directly on your skin. Ideally, you should mix a few drops of carrier oil (olive, coconut, etc.), then add 2-3 drops of the Jatamansi essential oil and then apply on the skin, hair, and body.

Important: Before you buy Jatamansi in the powder/capsule/oil form, make sure to consult your doctor for any side-effects or allergies you may have.



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Jatamansi: The "Wonder" Herb for Depression: Uses, Benefits, & Side-Effects
Jatamansi Benefits For Hair, Skin, Depression, Anxiety, Memory and Other Uses, Benefits, & Side-Effects, Jatamansi Oil, How To Take Jatamansi Powder?
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