Spikenard essential oil is a substance used in Aroma
therapy. Sourced from Nardostachys jatamansi (a plant in the valerian family), this essential oil has a strong, earthy scent. Although it's primarily used as a fragrance ingredient, spikenard essential oil is also said to offer a number of health benefits.
Said to have a calming effect, spikenard essential oil is often used in alternative medicine to alleviate Anxiety
, and Insomnia
. It's also said to help treat the following health problems:
In addition, spikenard essential oil is thought to help destroy Bacteria
. It's also purported to reduce Inflammation
Although some preliminary research suggests that spikenard (a plant long used in herbal remedies in ayurvedic medicine) may have beneficial effects on health, there's currently a lack of scientific support for the use of spikenard essential oil. This preliminary research includes a 2006 study from the Journal of Medicinal Food, which found that spikenard
While these studies indicate that spikenard shows promise in the treatment of certain health conditions, it's important to note that neither study tested the effects of spikenard essential oil.
How to Use It
When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), spikenard essential oil can be applied directly to the Skin
or added to baths. Like nearly all essential oils, spikenard may be harmful when applied to the Skin
without diluting the oil first.
You can also sprinkle a few drops of spikenard essential oil onto a cloth or tissue and breathe in its scent, or add the oil to an Aroma
Spikenard essential oil is said to blend well with a variety of essential oils, including clove, frankincense, geranium, lavender, lemon, myrrh, neroli, patchouli, and rose.
Due to the lack of studies testing the health effects of spikenard essential oil, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of this remedy. However, there's some concern that use of spikenard essential oil may be harmful to Pregnant
or breastfeeding women, as well as to people with epilepsy.
While essential oils may aid in the treatment of certain health problems, using spikenard essential oil as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of chronic conditions may have serious consequences.
Essential oils can be toxic when taken internally so they should only be taken orally under the guidance of a qualified professional.
In addition, some individuals may experience irritation when applying spikenard essential oil to the Skin
. A Skin
patch test should be done before using any new essential oil.
The oil should not be applied at full-strength to the Skin
or used in excessive amounts.
How Spikenard Essential Oil Can Relieve Insomnia
By Christine Ruggeri, CHHC
November 8, 2019
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In ancient times, spikenard was regarded as one of the most precious oils. It's been used as a perfume, a medicine and in religious contexts across a wide territory from India to Europe.
Biblically, it's referenced when Mary of Bethany spent a year's worth of wages to buy this oil and anoint Jesus' feet before the Last Supper.
Spikenard oil is used as herbal medicine to naturally treat Insomnia
problems, weak Immune
system and Infection
s. In Ayurvedic medicine, it's used for a range of health conditions, from sleeping disorder and Depression
, to chronic Fatigue
Ancient healers knew that this remarkable plant could be used to safely and effectively improve common health concerns.
What Is Spikenard?
Spikenard, also called nard, nardin and muskroot, is a flowering plant of the Valerian family with the scientific name Nardostachys jatamansi. It grows in the Himalayas of Nepal, China and India, and is found at altitudes of about 10,000 feet.
The plant grows to be about three feet in height, and it has pink, bell-shaped flowers. Spikenard is distinguished by having many Hair
y spikes shooting out from one root, and it's called 'the Indian spike' by the Arabs.
The stems of the plant, called rhizomes, are crushed and distilled into an essential oil that has an intense Aroma
and amber color. It has a heavy, sweet, woody and spicy smell, which is said to resemble the smell of moss. The oil blends well with essential oils of frankincense, geranium, patchouli, lavender, vetiver and myrrh oils.
Spikenard essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the resin obtained from this plant - its chief components include aristolene, calarene, clalarenol, coumarin, dihydroazulenes, jatamanshinic Acid
, nardol, nardostachone, valerianol, valeranal and valeranone.
According to research, the essential oil obtained from the roots of spikenard show Fungi
toxic activity, Antimicrobial
, hypotensive, antiarrhythmic and anticonvulsant activity. The rhizomes extracted with 50 percent ethanol show hepatoprotective, hypolipidemic and antiarrhythmic activity.
The powdered stem of this beneficial plant is also taken internally to cleanse the uterus, help with Infertility
and treat Menstrual
1. Fights Bacteria
Spikenard stops Bacteria
l growth on the Skin
and inside the body. On the Skin
, its applied to Wound
s in order to help kill Bacteria
and help provide Wound
care. Inside the body, spikenard treats Bacteria
s in the Kidney
s, Urinary Bladder
and urethra. Its also known to treat treat toenail fungus, Athlete
's foot, Tetanus
and Food poisoning
A study done at the Western Regional Research Center in California evaluated the bactericidal activity levels of 96 essential oils. Spikenard was one of the oils that was most active against C. jejuni, a species of Bacteria
commonly found in animal feces. C. jejuni is one of the most common causes of human gastroenteritis in the world.
Spikenard is also Antifungal
, so it promotes Skin
health and helps heal ailments caused by Fungal Infection
s. This powerful plant is able to ease itching, treat patches on the Skin
and treat Dermatitis
2. Relieves Inflammation
Spikenard essential oil is extremely beneficial to your health because of its ability to fight Inflammation
throughout the body. Inflammation
is at the root of most diseases and its dangerous for your Nervous
A 2010 study done at the School of Oriental Medicine in South Korea investigated the effect of spikenard on acute pancreatitis - a sudden Inflammation
of the Pancreas
that can range from mild discomfort to a life-threatening illness. The results suggest spikenard treatment weakened the severity of acute pancreatitis and pancreatitis-associated Lung
injury; this proves that spikenard serves as an Anti-inflammatory
3. Relaxes the Mind and Body
Spikenard is a relaxing and soothing oil for the Skin
and mind; its used as a Sedative
and calming agent. Its also a natural coolant, so it rids the mind of anger and aggression. It sedates feelings of Depression
and restlessness and can serve as a natural way to relieve Stress
A study done at the School of Pharmaceutical Science in Japan examined spikenard for its Sedative
activity using a spontaneous vapor administration system. The results indicated that spikenard contained a lot of calarene and its vapor inhalation had a Sedative
effect on mice.
The study also indicated that when essential oils were mixed together, the Sedative
response was more significant; this was especially true when spikenard was mixed with galangal, patchouli, borneol and sandalwood essential oils.
The same school also isolated two components of spikenard, valerena-4,7(11)-diene and beta-maaliene, and both compounds reduced the locomotor activity of mice.
Valerena-4,7(11)-diene had a particularly profound effect, with the strongest Sedative
activity; in fact, caffeine-treated mice that showed locomotor activity that was double that of controls were calmed to normal levels by the administration of valerena-4,7(11)-diene.
Researchers found that the mice slept 2.7 times longer, an effect similar to that of chlorpromazine, a prescription drug given to patients with mental or behavior disorders.
4. Stimulates the Immune
Spikenard is an Immune
system booster - it calms the body and allows it to function properly. It's a natural hypotensive, so it naturally lowers Blood Pressure
Elevated Blood Pressure
is when the pressure on the Arteries
and Blood vessel
s becomes too high and the arterial wall becomes distorted, causing extra Stress
on the Heart
. Long term-high Blood Pressure
increases the risk of Stroke
attack and Diabetes
Using spikenard is a natural remedy for high Blood Pressure
because it dilates the Arteries
, acts as an Antioxidant
to reduce oxidative Stress
and decreases emotional Stress
. Oils from the plant also relieve Inflammation
, which is the culprit for a host of diseases and illnesses.
A 2012 study conducted in India found that spikenard rhizomes (the stems of the plant) exhibited high reduction capability and powerful free radical scavenging. Free radicals are very dangerous to the body's tissues and have been connected to Cancer
and premature aging; the body uses Antioxidant
s to prevent itself from the damage caused by oxygen.
Like all high Antioxidant
foods and plants, they protect our bodies from Inflammation
and fight free radical damage, keeping our systems and organs running properly.
5. Promotes Hair
Spikenard oil is known for promoting the growth of Hair
, retaining its natural color and slowing down the process of graying. A 2011 study published in Pharmacognosy Magazine measured spikenard oil's ability to stimulate Hair
For the study, the crude extract, fractions and two of the isolated compounds were tested for their Hair
growth activity. Hair
growth was tested on female Wistar rats that had Hair
removed in a four-centimeter square area before the study began.
The results indicate that spikenard oil showed positive response in Hair
growth promotion activity; the crude spikenard extracts were more effective than the pure compounds. Because the isolated compounds were effective in different ways, when they were acting together in the extract, Hair
growth resumed within a short period of time.
When using spikenard extract, there was a 30 percent reduction in the time it look for the Hair
to grow back on the tested rats - showing that spikenard can work as a Hair
6. Relieves Insomnia
Many adults experience Insomnia
at some point, but some people have long-term (chronic) Insomnia
may be the primary problem, or it may be secondary due to other causes, such as Stress
, overuse of Stimulant
s, sugar, inDigestion
, alcohol, lack of physical activity, restless leg syndrome, Hormonal
changes, sleep apnea, or other medical conditions.
If you can't sleep, this essential oil is a great natural remedy, without the use of drugs that can cause adverse side effects. Spikenard's Sedative
properties can be helpful for people with Insomnia
. It leaves you relaxed, and feelings of restlessness and Anxiety
fade away. If your Insomnia
is a result of inDigestion
issues, it may prove helpful because it improves the function of the Digestive
A 2015 study involving mice found that compounds from a spikenard extract had Sedative
effects after inhalation. Researchers concluded that Aroma
therapy using spikenard oil may provide mild sedation.
7. May Relieve Constipation
Although the research on the plant's benefits for Digestion
are limited, spikenard is sometimes used as a natural Laxative
that stimulates the Digestive
system. This may be due to the oil's relaxing and calming properties.
Unlike synthetic Laxative
s that dry out the intestinal wall, the relaxant compounds in spikenard may help to keep your waste moving through the Colon
and out of your body in the form of stool.
8. Protects Uterus and Ovaries
Spikenard may work to purify the uterus and ovaries, and stimulate the secretion of Estrogen
and progesterone. Although there aren't any human studies to prove these benefits, the plant's essential oils have been used for centuries for reproductive health.
It's been used in traditional and Ayurvedic medicine as a uterus Stimulant
for promoting menstruation, cleansing the uterus, treating Pain
ful menstruation and reducing Inflammation
of the uterus.
It can keep your Menstrual
cycle regular, and it serves as a natural remedy for PMS Cramps
and uncomfortable Bloating
. The oil was also used as an Aphrodisiac
in naturally treating Impotence
Benefits Of Spikenard Essential Oil
therapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: Spikenard is useful for Nervous
, emotional tension, Insomnia
irritations, Skin Inflammation
es, and Psoriasis
. Although beneficial for all Skin
types, the oil is especially good for dry and Mature Skin
therapy: Spikenard can help calm Inflammation
, support Digestion
, reduce Nausea
, and calm the Nervous
system. The oil is good for Meditation
and reflection and can leave you feeling relaxed and uplifted. Blend spikenard into a belly butter with orange, Roman Chamomile, and ginger.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aroma
therapy: Spikenard oil has soothing and calming effects that help relieve Insomnia
spasm and contractions, physical tension, Stress
-related conditions, and Anxiety
. Also benefits aging Skin
The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): In Skin
care, spikenard is useful for Inflammation
, Mature Skin
es, and other Skin
issues. The oil may also help relieve Insomnia
, and tension.
According to Aroma
therapist KG Stiles, spikenard essential oil is especially useful during onset of puberty and for menopausal issues in women. Stiles states the oil lifts the spirits and inspires the Heart
and mind to selfless acts of devotion and quiet inner peace.
375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols: Use spikenard in Skin
care products, for grounding, and for emotional needs.
therapy For Healing the Spirit: In Traditional Chinese Medicine "spikenard oil calms the Heart
, stabilizes the Mind (Shen) and settles the emotions." It also regulates the flow of Liver
-Qi and of general Qi-energy. The oil is useful for relieving Nervous
, Varicose veins
, and Inflammation
tica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics, Volume 2: Psychologically, spikenard stabilizes the mind and promotes integration. The oil also promotes stability, strength, and cognitive flexibility. Physically, the essential oil relaxes hyperTonic
/tense and cools hot conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the essential function of spikenard is to nourish the Yin, descend the Yang, clear heat, and calm the Shen.
therapy: Spikenard intensifies devotional feelings toward a deity or spiritual teacher. The oil embodies the spirit of generosity.
The Essential Guide to Aroma
therapy and Vibrational Healing: Spiritually, spikenard reminds you to be receptive to your intuition and accept the part of yourself that can imagine a better way of life for all beings. The energy of the oil embodies compassion, inner peace, nurturing, and wisdom. The essential oil helps balance emotions.
therapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Spikenard promotes a sense of Heart
-centered wholeness. Used with the seventh Chakra
, the oil promotes love and devotion for the divine.
Spikenard Oil Uses
Diffuse spikenard for Meditation
or to help you sleep. Be aware the oil is thick and may clog some Diffuser
Make a relaxing bath oil:
1/2 cup jojoba oil
20 drops spikenard essential oil
10 drops orange essential oil
One 4-ounce PET plastic bottle
Add jojoba and essential oils to bottle. Close and shake gently to mix.
To use, add a small capful of the bath oil to running bathwater. Do not use with children under five.
Source: Essential Living