Nardostachys jatamansi

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Nardostachys jatamansi
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Caprifoliaceae
Genus: Nardostachys
N. jatamansi
Binomial name
Nardostachys jatamansi
  • Fedia grandiflora Wall. ex DC., nom. inval.
  • Fedia jatamansi Wall. ex DC., nom. inval.
  • Nardostachys chinensis Batalin
  • Nardostachys grandiflora DC.
  • Patrinia jatamansi D.Don
  • Valeriana jatamansi D.Don, nom. illeg.

Nardostachys jatamansi is a flowering plant of the valerian family that grows in the Himalayas. It is a source of a type of intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, spikenard. The oil has, since ancient times, been used as a perfume, as a traditional medicine, and in religious ceremonies. It is also called spikenard, nard, nardin, or muskroot. It is considered endangered due to overharvesting for folk medicine, overgrazing, loss of habitats, and forest degradation.


Nardostachys jatamansi is a flowering plant of the honeysuckle family that grows in the eastern Himalayas, primarily in a belt through Kumaon, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan.[3] The plant grows 10–50 cm (4–20 in) in height and has pink, bell-shaped flowers.[4] It is found at an altitude of 3,000–5,000 m (9,800–16,400 ft). Rhizomes (underground stems) can be crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, which is very thick in consistency. Nard oil is used as a perfume, an incense, a sedative, and a herbal medicine said to fight insomnia, birth difficulties, and other minor ailments.[5]


Preliminary research on the chemical components of Nardostachys jatamansi indicates the plant contains:[6]

In spikenard[edit]

Nardostachys jatamansi may have been used as an ingredient in the incense known as spikenard, although lavender has also been suggested as a candidate for the spikenard of classical times.[7]


  1. ^ Traditions), K. Ravikumar (Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health; Technology (IHST)), Debabrata Saha (Institute of Trans-disciplinary Health Sciences and; Ved, D. K.; Haridasan, K. (July 16, 2014). "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Nardostachys jatamansi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  2. ^ "Nardostachys jatamansi", The Plant List, retrieved 2014-09-19
  3. ^ Bakhru, H. K. (1993). Herbs that heal : natural remedies for good health (3rd print. ed.). New Delhi u.a.: Orient Paperbacks. p. 117. ISBN 978-8122201338.
  4. ^ Deyuan Hong; Fred R. Barrie; Charles D. Bell. "Nardostachys jatamansi". Flora of China. Vol. 1. Retrieved 6 June 2020 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  5. ^ Dalby, Andrew (2000), Dangerous Tastes: the story of spices, London: British Museum Press, ISBN 978-0-7141-2720-0 (US ISBN 0-520-22789-1) pp. 83–88
  6. ^ Zhang, X; Lan Z; Dong XP; Deng Y; Hu XM; Peng T; Guo P. (January 2007). "Study on the active components of Nardostachys chinensis". Zhong Yao Cai. 30 (1): 38–41. PMID 17539300.
  7. ^ Fernie, William Thomas (1897). Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure. Philadelphia: Boericke & Tafel. p. 296. OCLC 1191267545.

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