Spikenard Essential Oil

Spikenard essential oil is a fragrant healing essential oil that has found mention in ancient scriptures and the Bible.

Romans used spikenard essential oil in the preparation of Nardinum, one of the most renowned scented oils.


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The botanical term for the spikenard plant is Nardostachys grandiflora, and it belongs to valerian family. It has pink bell-shaped flowers, and the rhizomes of the spikenard plant yield the plant’s essential oil. It is widely used in clinical aromatherapy and is regarded as a calming, sedative, stabilizing oil.

Physical properties

Color: Pale yellow

Consistency: Thick

Aroma: Heavy, sweet, woody, and spicy; an animal odor similar to valerial oil


Spikenard is also known as nard, nardin and muskroot. Spikenard is native to the Himalayan Mountains and grows in the areas that are from 11000 – 17000 feet. This is also known as Jatamansi in India.It is also found in the northern region of India, Nepal, China, Bhutan, and Sikkim. Currently, it is distilled mainly in Europe and the United States

How to extract

Spikenard essential oil is extracted from aromatic rhizome of the Nardostachys grandiflora. The process of steam distillation is used and the stems are thus crushed and processed. The essential oil obtained is then used as an ingredient in perfumes, medicines, skin tonics.

Chemical composition

The main chemical components include the following:

  • Aristolene
  • Calarene
  • Calarenol
  • Coumarin
  • Dihydroazulenes
  • Jatamanshinic acid
  • Nardol
  • Nardostachone
  • Valerianol
  • Valerinal valeranone

These chemical components attribute to the medicinal properties of spikenard essential oil.


Although spikenard oil has no known contra-indications or side effects, one should use it with care, as with all essential oils. Also, it is better to avoid using concentrated essential oils. If you are pregnant, do consult your doctor before trying anything new.


Spikenard essential oil is widely used in Ayurvedic and Japanese medicine. It is used to treat nervous disorders as it is believed to soothe the nerves. Owing to its soothing, relaxing and sedative properties, it is also used to treat insomnia. Its rejuvenating qualities make spikenard essential oil a good option for vapor therapy or to be used in the baths.

It is also used for treating stress, anxiety, and migraines.

Therapeutic Applications

  • Antibacterial: Spikenard oil is a potent remedy for bacterial infections not only on the skin but also internal bacterial growth.
  • Antifungal: Due to its antifungal property, essential oil of spikenard is used in clinical aromatherapy as an effective skin care agent. It is used to treat superficial fungal infections as well as internal infections like fungal food poisoning, skin patches, dermatitis, and psoriasis.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Its anti-inflammatory property makes it as a good remedy for all sorts of aches and pains.

Apart from these applications, spikenard oil can be used to treat allergies, fever, and varicose veins. It can be applied to heal wounds and is also useful in improving blood circulation. It is also believed to enhance the secretion of hormones and enzymes. In clinical aromatherapy, it is used primarily as a de-stressing agent.

Blends well with

Spikenard has a rich woody and spicy aroma that makes it a good blend with almost all other oils. The oil blends well with the essential oils of clove, lavender, oakmoss, frankincense, geranium, orange, pine, rose, petit grain, juniper, cistus, myrrh, and cypress.

How to use

  • For treating rough and dry skin, blend spikenard essential oil with olive oil.
  • To calm the mind, place spikenard oil in an essential oil diffuser. Add a few drops of spikenard oil to an oil diffuser and warm it for about 30 minutes. Remove the heat source and place the oil diffuser next to your bed.

No matter what essential oil you use make sure that you speak to your doctor before you begin using the oil.

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Spikenard Essential Oil
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