Synonyms: Nard, false valerian root, Nardostachys grandiflora, jatamansi
Aroma: Warm, earthy, peaty, bittersweet, woody.
Colour: Pale to deep amber, blue to green.
Although most authors write that spikenard is pale to deep amber in colour, Meg Shehad states that true spikenard is blue to green in colour and a reconstituted oil made from patchouli oil called spikenard is pale to deep amber.
Plant: Aromatic herb that grows to 1 metre with long spoon like leaves and small rosy, pale pink or blue flowers and a fragrant rhizome root.
Main Growing Areas: Himalayan mountains, Nepal, northern India.
Major Constituents: borynl acetate, isobornyl valerianate, borneol, terpineol, patchouol, eugenol.
Interesting snippets: Early Egyptian, Hebrew and Hindu civilizations used her for both ritual and medicinal purposes.
Spikenard is the oil Mary Magdalene used to anoint the feet of Jesus.
She was also used as a consecrated oil for monarchs and high initiates.
Part of Plant used / Extraction: Rhizome and roots, steam distillation.
Therapeutic actions: Antispasmodic so good for nausea, constipation, intestinal colic and helpful for haemorrhoids and varicose veins. Nourishes and soothes the skin easing the symptoms of dermatitis and psoriasis. Wound healing.
Emotional and Spiritual: Nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia and stress related symptoms. She can instil a profound sense of peace.
Gabriel Mojay writes that it works to replace despondency and resentment with acceptance and compassion. Nourishing the hope of both heart and soul, spikenard allows us to “surrender” and through its serenity and earthy humility, conveys the power of devotion to one’s chosen path.
Valerie Ann Worwood writes that spikenard is a fragrance of forgiveness offered with love. Its purpose is to release the past from the shackles of our own making, those which relentlessly bind us to repeating actions which affect the freedom of the spirit.
Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic.
Sources: Davis, P, Aromatherapy, An A-Z. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Shehad M, https://www.gritman.com/blog/spikenard-buyer-beware/
Smith I, Spikenard. In Essence Vol.6 No.2 (2007)
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)