Nardostachys Jatamansi As Medicine – Ben Cao Medical Book


Nardostachys jatamansi is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas. It is a major source of a type of intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, spikenard. The rhizome of the plan is used in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) where it is called Gan Song Xiang (甘松香, 甘松). It is used as detoxicant, a bitter tonic (clearing away internal heat), expectorant and discutient (reducing swelling).

Odour & Nature:

Sweet, warm-natured, non-toxic,


Nardostachys jatamansi rhizome functions by influencing the spleen and stomach.

Indications & Formulas:

A decoction of nardostachys jatamansi rhizome is taken internally to treat abdominal pain (belly or stomach pain).

Pounded nardostachys jatamansi rhizome is applied externally to treat swollen ankles and feet.

Pills made with pinellia ternata, arisaema erubescens, nardostachys jatamansi rhizome, dried tangerine peel is taken orally with ginger soup to expel phlegm.

Contraindication & Cautions:

People with deficiency of vital energy (qi) should avoid taking medicine that contains nardostachys jatamansi rhizome.

The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.

The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.

Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.

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