Valeriana jatamansi: An incredible herb
The Indian Himalayan Region has been regarded as the repository of potential medicinal herbs since time immemorial. A large number of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) have been distributed within different forests along an altitudinal gradient. Most of the MAPs are used in the Indian System of Medicine, and pharmaceutical and oil industries. Uttarakhand strategically located in the foothills of Himalayan range and has a mountainous topography, and is rich in natural resources especially water and forest with many glaciers, rivers and dense forest. Due to its unique biodiversity, the state is also home to several rare and endangered species of herbal and aromatic plants. One of such vital plants of Uttarakhand Himalayas is Valeriana Jatamansi, which is in great demand due to its high medicinal potential.
The genus Valeriana jatamansi, belonging to the Valerianaceae family, is represented by 16 species/ subspecies and is commonly known as Tagar or sumaya. The medicinal properties of the species is due to the presence of compound known as “Valepotriates”. The species is widely used in herbal medicines as a sedative and tranquilizers by encouraging sleep and improving sleep quality. Rootstock is stimulant and antispasmodic. It is also used for the treatment of epilepsy and hysteria. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used as aromatic, stimulant, carminative, and antispasmodic. The herb is also used as anodyne, bactericide, carminative, hypnotic, stomachic, nervine tonic, sudorific, and laxative. Valeriana is also used in making perfumed powder and cardiac preparations. Owing to its high medicinal properties, commercially, the species is required by pharmaceutical industries in huge amount for the preparation of various medicinal formulations that has put tremendous pressure on its natural pockets leading it to the category of threatened plant species.