Spikenard Essential Oil, botanically known as Nardastachus jatamansi, is a flowering plant in the Valerian family. Often just called "Nard", it is found in the high altitudes of the China Himalayas, and in the northern region of India and Nepal, usually in the 3000–5000 meters range. It grows to about 1 m in height, and has pink, bell-shaped flowers. The essential oil comes from the root of the plant. The rhizomes (underground stems-roots) are crushed and distilled, usually via steam distillation. The oil that comes from it is intensely aromatic, amber-colored, and very thick, or viscous in consistency. It is classified as a base note, and has a heavy, sweet-woody, earthy, musky, spicy odor. AN odor that is very reminiscent of valerian root oil.
Spikenard has been used for many years, and, in fact, is referred to in the Bible. It is one of the eleven herbs that was burned in the holy temple, and was used to wash the feet of Jesus, and another verse suggests it was used to also wash the head of Jesus.
While Spikenard, aka Nard oil, is often used as a fixative in the fragrance/perfumery industry, it is not used as much as many of its valerian cousins. But, it is still used in many Tibetan healing incense, and as a nerve tonic and sedative for sleep disorders in the herbal medicine of India, Tibet, and the whole of China. Spikenard is well known there as a healing oil, not only fighting insomnia, but also birthing difficulties, and other minor ailments. It is also known for its skin healing properties, and makes a great addition to skin-care formulas. In can, and often is, substituted for its valerian cousins. It is considered to be a generally safe oil. One oddity though, the scent of spikenard seems to attract cats. This is considered a strange phenomenon.
It is said that Nard posseses; antibiotic, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericidal, deodorant, fungicidal, laxative, sedative, and tonic properties. ANd is said to benefit conditions resulting from; allergies, anxiety, hysteria, inflammation, insomnia, mature skin, menstrual problems, migraine, nervous indigestion, rashes, stress, and tension.
Physically, spikenard essential oil is used as a diuretic; it is also effective against rashes and skin allergies. It is also claimed to have a balancing effect on the menstrual cycle. Emotionally, this oil is reserved for deep-seated grief or old pain. It is used in palliative care to help ease the transition from life to death. The oil is also used for preparing medicines for cholera, epilepsy, heart diseases, and more. This oil deserves more attention and study for sure!