In China, the rhizome is used as a deodorant, carminative, and stimulant. A decoction is used in various skin affections and in the bath to give fragrance to the body. In India, the rhizome is used to treat depression, hysteria, epilepsy, convulsions, headache, colic, and as a tonic and carminative.

Fig. 49. Patrinia scabiosaefolia Link.

The plant has been shown to posses GABAergic properties. Prabhu et al. showed that acute and subchronic administration of an alcoholic extract of the roots of Nar-dostachys jatamansi to male albino Wistar rats resulted in a significant increase in GABA (40). In addition, 2 weeks' oral pretreatment with the plant at a dose of 250 mg/kg abrogated alternations induced by ischemia, including neuronal cell death following middle cerebral artery occlusion (41). Note that the plant exhibits hepato-protective effects (42). It would be interesting to learn whether further study on this herb discloses any original agent with GABAergic potentials.

Patrinia scabiosaefolia Link, or patrinia, ominameshi (Japanese), pai chang, ku chih, ku tu, or hai sho (Chinese), is an erect herb that grows to a height of 1 m in East Asia and in sunny, grassy places in hills and mountains all over Japan. The root of this plant smells like spoiled soy. The leaves are fleshy, soft, whorled, dentate, and serrate. The flowers are small, yellowish-white, and arranged in corymbose cymes (Fig. 49). The roots are used as an astringent, resolving anodyne and antidotal. It is also used to heal abscesses, assuage postpartum pain, and remove parasites from the skin. The plant was mentioned by Schimmel in the American Journal of Pharmacy in 1889. Clinical observation and pharmacological investigation of the sedative and hypnotic effects of the Chinese drug rhizome and root of Patrinia scabiosaefolia are discussed by Luo (43).

Note that the plant is known to abound with triterpenoid saponins (44,45). Is the plant holding GABAergic activity? One wonders.

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