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is extracted from it in many parts of Hinduftàn and used as an âtar or
perfume. He adds a very curious philological remark, that, in the Tamul
dictionary, moft words beginning with nár have fome relation to
fragrance; as nárukeradu to yield an odour, nártum pillu, lemon-grass,
nártei, citron, nárta manum, the wild orange-tree, nárum panei, the
Indian Fafmin, nárum alleri, a strong smelling flower, and nártu, which
is put for nard in the Tamul verfion of our Scriptures; so that not only
the nard of the Hebrews and Greeks, but even the copia narium of
HORACE, may be derived from an Indian root: to this I can only
fay, that I have not met with any fuch root in Sanferit, the oldest
polished language of India, and that in Perfian, which has a mani-
fest affinity with it, nár means a pomegranate, and nárgìl (a word ori-
ginally Sanferit) a cocoa-nut, neither of which has any remarkable

Such is the evidence in fupport of the opinion, given by the great
Swedish naturalift, that the true nard was a gramineous plant and a
fpecies of Andropogon; but, fince no grafs, that I have yet feen, bears
any resemblance to the Jatámánsì, which I conceive to be the nardus of
the ancients, I beg leave to exprefs my diffent, with fome confidence
as a philologer, though with humble diffidence as a student in botany.
I am not, indeed, of opinion, that the nardum of the Romans was
merely the effential oil of the plant, from which it was denominated,
but am ftrongly inclined to believe, that it was a generick word, mean-
ing what we now call atar, and either the âtar of rofes from Cashmir
and Perfia, that of Cétaca, or Pandanus, from the western coast of
India, or that of Aguru, or aloe-wood, from Afám or Cochinchina,
the process of obtaining which is defcribed by ABU'LFAZL, or the
mixed perfume, called abir, of which the principal ingredients
were yellow fandal, violets, orange-flowers, wood of aloes, rofe-water,
mufk, and true fpikenard: all thofe effences and compofitions were

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coftly; and, most of them being fold by the Indians to the Perfians and Arabs, from whom, in the time of OCTAVIUS, they were received by the Syrians and Romans, they must have been extremely dear at Jerufalem and at Rome. There might also have been a pure nardine oil, as ATHENAUS calls it; but nardum probably meant (and KOENIG was of the fame opinion) an Indian effence in general, taking its name from that ingredient, which had, or was commonly thought to have, the most exquifite fcent. But I have been drawn by a pleafing fubject to a greater length than I expected, and proceed to the promised description of the true nard, or Jatámánfi, which, by the way, has other names in the Amarcófh, the smootheft of which are jatilá and lómasà, both derived from words meaning hair. Mr. BURT, after a modest apology for his imperfect acquaintance with the language of botanists, has favoured me with an account of the plant, on the correctness of which I have a perfect reliance, and from which I collect the following natural characters:


Cal. Scarce any. Margin, hardly discernible.



Pift. Germ beneath. One Style erect.

Seed Solitary, crowned with a pappus.

Root Fibrous.

Leaves Hearted, fourfold; radical leaves petioled.

One petal. Tube fomewhat gibbous. Border five cleft.
Three Anthers.

It appears, therefore, to be the Protean plant, VALERIAN, a fifter of the mountain and Celtick, Nard, and of a fpecies, which I fhould describe in the Linnean style: VALERIANA JATA'MA'NSI floribus triandris, foliis cordatis quaternis, radicalibus petiolatis. The radical leaves, rifing from the ground and enfolding the young stem, are


plucked up with a part of the root, and, being dried in the fun or by an artificial heat, are fold as a drug, which from its appearance has been called Spikenard; though, as the Perfian writer obferves, it might be compared more properly to the tail of an ermine: when nothing remains but the dry fibres of the leaves, which retain their original form, they have fome resemblance to a lock of hair, from which the Sanferit name, it seems, is derived. Two mercantile agents from Bután on the part of the Dévarájá were examined, at my request, by Mr. HARRINGTON, and informed him, that the drug, which the Bengalese called Fatámánsí, “grew erect above the surface "of the ground, refembling in colour an ear of green wheat; that, "when recent, it had a faint odour, which was greatly increased by "the fimple procefs of drying it; that it abounded on the hills, and

even on the plains, of Bután, where it was collected and prepared "for medicinal purposes." What its virtues are, experience alone can ascertain; but, as far as botanical analogy can justify a conjecture, we may suppose them to be antifpafmodick; and, in our provinces, especially in Behar, the plant will probably flourish; so that we may always procure it in a state fit for experiment. On the defcription of the Indian fpikenard, compared with the drawing, I muft observe, that, though all the leaves, as delineated, may not appear of the fame fhape, yet all of them are not fully expanded. Mr. BURT affures me, that the four radical leaves are hearted and petioled; and it is most probable, that the cauline and floral leaves would have a fimilar form in their state of perfect expansion; but, unfortunately, the plants at Gayá are now fhrivelled; and they, who feek farther information, muft wait with patience, until new ftems and leaves fhall spring from the roots, or other plants fhall be brought from Népál and Bután. On the propofed inquiry into the virtues of this celebrated plant, I must be permitted to fay, that, although many botanists may have wafted their time in enumerating the qualities of vegetables,



without having ascertained them by repeated and fatisfactory experiments, and although mere botany goes no farther than technical arrangement and description, yet it seems indubitable, that the great end and aim of a botanical philofopher is, to discover and prove the feveral uses of the vegetable system, and, while he admits with HIPPOCRATES the fallaciousness of experience, to rely on experiment alone as the bafis of his knowledge.

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