Essential Oil Spotlight: Spikenard

Spikenard essential oil (Nardostachys jatamansi) gets its name from the spike-shaped rhizomes (or “spikes”) of the plant that the oil is distilled from. Highly prized in the Middle East during the time of Christ, spikenard is referred to several times in the Bible. Spikenard was also used in the preparation of nardinum, a scented oil of great renown during ancient times. Prized in early Egypt, it was used in a preparation called kyphi with other oils like saffron, juniper, myrrh, cassia, and cinnamon.

Spikenard is commonly used for aging skin, insomnia, nervousness, perfume, and rashes. The oil is known for helping in the treatment of allergic skin reactions, and according to Victoria Edwards, “The oil redresses the skin’s physiological balance and causes permanent regeneration.”

It may also help with allergies, candida, flatulent indigestion, insomnia, menstrual difficulties, migraines, nausea, neurological diseases, rashes, staph infections, stress, tachycardia, tension, and wounds that will not heal.

This essential oil contains the following properties: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, deodorant, relaxing, and skin tonic.

Spikenard has an earthy, animal-like fragrance. It is balancing, soothing, and harmonizing.

Spikenard can be applied neat (without dilution) on adults when used topically on area of concern or to reflex points. It can also be diffused or inhaled directly.

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5 Ways to Use Spikenard Essential Oil

1. Diffuse
Try these oil blends in your diffuser:
2. Roll on for Sleep
Spikenard essential oil is also beneficial in helping with insomnia because of its relaxing properties. Here is a good recipe to put in a roll-on bottle to rub on the bottoms of your feet at night when you need a little help falling asleep:

Insomnia Blend:
1 drop Roman chamomile
2 drops lavender
2 drops marjoram
2 drops orange
1 drop tangerine
1 drop ylang ylang
1 drop spikenard
Add oils to a 5 ml roll-on for short-term use or a 10 ml roll-on for daily use. Fill the roll-on the rest of the way with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil.

All-Natural Deodorant3. Add to Deodorant
Try putting spikenard in your all-natural deodorant. You could even make your own by using this recipe and replace the oils with this blend:
5 drops orange
3 drops juniper berry
2 drops spikenard

4. Add to a Warm Bath
Here is a bath blend that will remind you of being deep in the woodlands:

Relax in the Woodlands Bath:
1 drop spikenard
1 drop vetiver
5 drops cedarwood
10 drops white fir
4 drops cypress
1 cup (240 g) epsom salt
Mix oils in epsom salt, and add 1/4 cup of the mixture to your warm bathwater.

5. Use in a Massage
According to Patricia Davis, spikenard “is a wonderful oil for anybody who is tense or anxious, and has the ability to help people let go of old pain or emotional blocks that they are holding inside. Aromatherapists who work with chakra energy or auric massage would find this a very appropriate oil” (Aromatherapy: An A–Z, p. 301). Try using this blend that includes spikenard for a relaxing massage:

Relaxing Massage Blend:
3 drops neroli
3 drops petitgrain
3 drops marjoram
1 drop spikenard
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, or Jojoba Oil)

To learn more about spikenard essential oil, see the book Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils.

Sources: Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 8th Edition, p. 110.
Aromatherapy: An A–Z by Patricia Davis.

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