Botanical Name: Valeriana jatamansi
Common Names: Indian Valerina
*Ayurvedic name: Tagar
*Unani name: Tagar
*Hindi name: Mushkbala, Tagar
*Trade name: Mushkbala, Tagar
Habitat: Valeriana jatamansi is native to E. Asia – Afghanistan to S.W. China. It grows in forests, shrubberies and on open slopes, 1500 – 3600 metres.
Valeriana jatamansi is a perennial aromatic herb growing up to 50 cm high. Rootstock is thick, with 6–10 cm thick, long fibrous roots knotted by uneven circular ridges. The plant has several stems, that are 15–45 cm long. Leaves are of two types, radical and cauline. Radical leaves are cordate–ovate, 2.5–8 cm, toothed or sinuate, long stalked, while cauline leaves are few, small, entire or lobulate. Flowers are white or tinged with pink and occur in flat-topped corymbose clusters on erect, nearly leafless peduncles. Flowers are unisexual; male and female flowers appear on different plants and is pollinated by Insects.
Corolla is funnel shaped with five lobes. Fruits are crowned with a persistent pappus-like calyx.Flowering and fruiting occur in March–April. Seeds ripen in April–May.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed because it requires light for germination. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant out into their permanent positions in the summer if sufficient growth has been made. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse or frame for their first winter and plant them out early in the following summer. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
The root is antispasmodic, carminative and stimulant. It has many of the properties of V. officinalis and could therefore be employed as a nervine and sedative. It is used in Nepal to treat hysteria, insomna, nausea, pimples, rheumatism and cholera. They are cooling, stimulant, hypotensive, and sedative.
They are useful in epilepsy, hysteria, hypochondriasis, nervous unrest, and skin diseases. The juice of the root is applied to the forehead in the treatment of headaches, and is dripped into the eyes for treating eye problems. A paste of the plant is applied externally to boils. This species is an effective substitute for V. officinalis. The uses of that plant are as follows:- Valerian is a well-known and frequently used medicinal herb that has a long and proven history of efficacy. It is noted especially for its effect as a tranquilliser and nervine, particularly for those people suffering from nervous overstrain. Valerian has been shown to encourage sleep, improve sleep quality and reduce blood pressure. It is also used internally in the treatment of painful menstruation, cramps, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome etc. It should not be prescribed for patients with liver problems. Externally, it is used to treat eczema, ulcers and minor injuries. The root is antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, hypnotic, powerfully nervine, sedative and stimulant. The active ingredients are called valepotriates, research has confirmed that these have a calming effect on agitated people, but are also a stimulant in cases of fatigue. The roots of 2 year old plants are harvested in the autumn once the leaves have died down and are used fresh or dried. The fresh root is about 3 times as effective as roots dried at 40° (the report does not specify if this is centigrade or fahrenheit), whilst temperatures above 82° destroy the active principle in the root. Use with caution, see the notes above on toxicity.
Other Uses: The dried rhizome is used as an incense. The root contains 0.8% essential oil. It is used in perfumery and in preparations for the hair.
Known Hazards: Some caution is advised with the use of this plant. At least one member of the genus is considered to be poisonous raw and V. officinalis is a powerful nervine and sedative that can become habit-forming.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.