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Spikenard Essential Oil’s Journey through Time

As we have been receiving quite a few orders at Ahimsa for Spikenard essential oil over the past few weeks I thought it would be an interesting topic for this week’s newsletter. Although mainstream favourites like Orange, Geranium and Peppermint are definite “go to oils” it’s nice to share some information on others that a lot of people may not be aware of and their story. Spikenard essential oil has a rich and storied history that spans centuries and civilizations. Here's a glimpse into its fascinating journey through time.

Ancient Roots and Biblical References

Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) is a flowering plant native to the Himalayan regions of India, Nepal, and China.  Its use dates back thousands of years, with evidence of its cultivation and extraction found in ancient texts and archaeological sites.  In ancient India, Spikenard was highly prized for its medicinal and aromatic properties.  It was often referred to as "nard" and held in high regard in Ayurvedic medicine, where it was used to treat a variety of ailments.

One of the most famous mentions of Spikenard comes from the Bible, where it is referenced several times, most notably in the New Testament.  In the Gospel of John, Spikenard is mentioned as a precious ointment used by Mary Magdalene to anoint the feet of Jesus.  This act of devotion has immortalised Spikenard as a symbol of reverence and spiritual significance.


Traditional Medicine

Throughout history Spikenard has been revered for its therapeutic properties.  In traditional Tibetan medicine, it was used to treat conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, and indigestion.  In Ayurveda, it was valued for its ability to calm the mind, soothe the spirit, and promote overall well-being.  Spikenard oil was also utilised topically to alleviate skin conditions and promote wound healing.


The Essence-Perfumery

Extracted through steam distillation from the roots of the Spikenard plant, Spikenard essential oil boasts a rich, earthy aroma with hints of musk and spice.  Its complex fragrance has a grounding effect on the mind and spirit, making it a popular choice for aromatherapy and meditation practices.  It is also used often in luxury perfumes due to its fixative qualities and lasting notes.


Therapeutic Benefits

  1. Emotional Balance:  Spikenard oil is prized for its calming and grounding properties, making it an excellent choice for reducing stress, anxiety, and nervous tension.  Its soothing aroma can promote relaxation and emotional stability, helping to uplift the mood and promote a sense of inner peace.
  2. Skin Care:  With its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, Spikenard oil is a valuable addition to skincare routines.  It can help soothe irritated skin, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy-looking complexion.  Additionally, its anti-fungal properties make it effective against certain skin conditions like fungal infections.
  3. Respiratory Support: The decongestant properties of Spikenard oil make it beneficial for respiratory health.  Inhalation of its vapours can help clear nasal passages, alleviate congestion, and provide relief from respiratory ailments such as colds, coughs, and bronchitis.
  4. Spiritual Connection:  Due to its historical associations with spirituality and meditation, Spikenard oil is often used in religious and ceremonial practices to enhance spiritual awareness, promote introspection, and facilitate deep meditation.

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