Uses and Meaning of Spikenard Essential Oil

Using spikenard essential oil in an aromatherapy session can lead to calmness and tranquility. The full-bodied, very earthy aroma can lift the heart and soul. It’s aroma is very distinct, and may not appeal to everyone, however. Aromatherapists would say that if you appreciate the scent, it’s probably good for you!

Ancient Healing Oil

In ancient times, the oil was associated with spiritual healing, sacredness, and wellness. The bible gives reference to it by calling it “nard”. A pound of the fragrant oil, kept in an alabaster jar, was used by Mary of Bethany to anoint Jesus’ feet during the last supper. It was a costly gift worth 300 denarii, or a year’s wage.

A perennial herb, the plant from which the oil is distilled grows erect and tall with rose-purple or white flowers. The entire plant issues a lasting smell. This is its natural defense against invading organisms and insects. Its roots are spindle like, dark gray with brown tufted fibers. The plant naturally dies back in the winter and then regenerates and grows again in the early summer. Only the rhizome type tubers are harvested, dried and crushed to make this essential oil. The pulp is then steam distilled until it releases an amber-colored resin, full of essence.

Spikenard and Valerian

Valerian is closely related botanically and therapeutically. Essential oils from both plants are made from their roots, and share a pungent, unique aromatic quality. And both are sedative and can offer relief for sleeplessness. Nevertheless, spikenard can be used as an antibacterial agent, to fight against fungus, bacteria and viruses.

Therapeutic Qualities of Spikenard

When essential oils are inhaled into the lungs, this can offer both physical and psychological benefits. Not only does the aroma change the brain’s chemistry, but also when inhaled the naturally occurring compounds can provide therapeutic relief. Spikenard essential oil holds a special place in aromatherapy, being thought to release old emotional wounds.

Inhalation for therapeutic use is best achieved with a specially-designed essential oil diffuser. This is a tool used to make small droplets of the oil, so they can evaporate in the surrounding air and be inhaled. Or one can fill a large mixing bowl with hot water, add the oil, and then drape a towel over their head. This needs to be done for several minutes in order to allow all the vital properties to be taken in. Or else, for a more relaxing treat, one could fill a bathtub with water, and then thoroughly mix in ten drops of essential oil. This would be very refreshing.

Spikenard makes an excellent addition to a soothing massage oil. Put twenty-five drops of essence in with two ounces of any vegetable based oil and massage it into the skin. Or make an aromatic lotion my putting twenty-five drops of essence into an unscented lotion.

Make a spray mixture to deodorize surfaces around the home, carpets, bedding, and furniture. Mix twenty-five drops into sixteen ounces of distilled water, transfer to a spray bottle, and spray.

Perfume oils are not like essential oils. They are created with imitation or man made materials. Only oils naturally extracted from plants offer-healing properties.

Spikenard can be blended with other essential oils which can complement its effects. One popular blend includes rose and lavender essential oils — rose being considered the premier “heart opening” essential oil, and lavender the most relaxing. Spikenard is certainly unique in its aroma and therapeutic activities, and if it sounds right for you, experimenting with the oil may really be rewarding.

The author regularly employs pure aromatherapy essential oils and Bach flower remedy therapy in her practice.

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