Aralia racemosa

Other Names: Indian Root, Life of Man, Old Man’s Root, Petty Morell, Spignet

Spikenard is a tall, bushy plant is a member of the ginseng family. It’s aroma is woody, earthy and sweet.

Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi, Nardostachys grandiflora) is the spikenard mentioned in the biblical Song of Solomon and the source of the oil Mary Magdelene lavishly poured over the feet of Jesus at the Last Supper. It was – and still is – recommended you inhale ancient and spiritual Spikenard while meditating on the sacrifice of the cross.

The very smell of the Spikenard plant was said to destroy fleas, and the leaves have been used, burnt, as an insecticide. Great Fleabane is one of its popular names.

Spikenard as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

SpikenardThe medicinal parts are the fresh and dried rhizome and roots. Spikenard has an aromatic odor and taste.

Spikenard has had a popular reputation for its curative powers.

The older herbalists considered Ploughman’s Spikenard a good wound herb, and it was frequently taken in decoction for bruises, ruptures, inward wounds, pains in the side and difficulty of breathing. It also had a reputation as an emmenagogue, and the juice of the plant was applied externally to cure the itch.

Spikenard is used to shorten labor and to ease childbirth, reduces uric acid, and is often used in cough syrups.

Spikenard promotes healthy skin through stimulating circulation of blood, lymph and nerve supply. Its skin nourishing properties support the formation of healthy skin cell tissue and help you maintain a clear, smooth complexion and youthful appearance. Spikenard may be helpful for treating chronic or stubborn skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

A tranquilizer and relative of the Valerian family, Spikenard has the most powerful sedative action in aromatherapy and often recommended for easing anxiety and stress.

Ojibiwa Native Americans use root as a poultice for broken bones. Outer bark is burned as an incense.

Folk medicine: Preparations are used internally for colds, chronic coughs and asthma. It is used as an alternative to Sarsaparilla in the treatment of skin diseases and for rheumatic conditions. North American Indians use Spikenard internally to treat backache and externally for bruises, wounds, swellings and inflammations.

Homeopathic Uses: Spikenard is used for colds, hay fever and asthma. Efficacy for colds appears plausible; efficacy for other uses has not been documented.

Culinary Uses of Spikenard

Root cooked and young tips eaten as a vegetable. Used in traditional root beer drinks. Roots made into ‘root beer’, tonic beers and wines. Berries also made into wine.


Do not use spikenard if you are pregnant. No other contraindications for spikenard oil are reported.

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