Narcissus tazetta Linn

Naregamia alata Wight & Arn.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India recommends dry rhizomes in obstinate skin diseases, erysipelas, disturbed mental state and insomnia.

The rhizome is rich in sesquiter-penoids. The crude drug gave an oil (yield 2.5% v/w), which contains d-nardostachone, valeranone and jata-mansone as the major ketonic sesqui-terpenes. The oil potentiated phenobarbital narcosis in rats, reduced brain serotonin content and decreased the conditioned avoidance performance in cats.

Jatamansone was shown to exert tranquilizing effect in mice and monkeys. In rabbits, jatamansone was found to impair biosynthesis of serotonin in the brain leading to a reduction in brain level of 5-hydroxytrypta-mine. The degradation of serotonin was unaffected. The mode of action of jatamansone was thus in variance with that of reserpine which has direct action on the cell to liberate serotonin.

On the other hand, the alcoholic extract of the roots of Indian Nard caused an overall increase in the levels of central monamines, 5-hydroxy indole acetic acid and the inhibitory amino acids, gamma-aminobutyric acid, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin in rat brain.

In a clinical trial on hyperkinetic children, jatamansone showed significant reduction in hyperactivity and improvement in restlessness and aggressiveness, almost at par with D-amphetamine.

The volatile oil was found to be less active than quinidine in several tests. It did not counteract digitalis induced ventricular arrhythmias.

Jatamansone semicarbazone, a sesquiterpene ketone, was found to possess antiestrogenic activity.

N. jatamansi is also used in place of Muraa (Selinum tenuifolium Wall. ex DC.)

Dosage ► Root—2-3 g powder; 5-10 g for infusion; 50-100 ml infusion. (API, Vol. I; CCRAS.)

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