This plant is interesting as being of immense antiquity, and the eminent orientalist, Sir William Jones, has satisfactorily proved that the Nardos of the Greeks, the Spikenard of Holy Writ, the Jatamansi of Sanskrit, the Sumbul of Persian writers on Materia Medica, and the Bálchur of Indian bazars, are one and the same plant.
It has been objected that the fragrance of the Jatamansi is not such as to warrant the probability ot its having been highly esteemed by the ancients, but Dr. Hoyle justly replies that "it is both incorrect and un philosophical to infer the tastes of another time and country from those of the age and place we live in. In the instance before us, however disagreeable it may be to some, there is no doubt that the Jatamansi is highly esteemed in the present day throughout the East, both as a perfume, and a stimulant medicine. Indeed, from the number of complaints, enumerated in Persian authors, for which it is said to be a cure, this root might lay claim to the title of a true panpharmacon; and with respect to the fragrance, I consider that of the true Jatamansi to be far from disagreeable.
"The root, when thoroughly dry, has in my opinion a distinctly pleasant, though rather strong, scent, and I shall be glad to receive any information regarding its value with the European perfumers, and whether it is employed by them in the preparation of any of the numerous perfumes which they offer to the public. It has before now been procured in a chemist's shop in London, and no doubt it is well known to the trade, though there is probably not much export.
The Indian Forester, Volume 10