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Steeped in thousands of years of royal history, Spikenard is one of the lesser known essential oils that many are missing out on. Grown deep in the Himalayas, Spikenard has been used in royal perfumes and fragrances historically, and was burned as incense to help the kings concentrate and relax. It also was and remains a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, praised by the Indians and many other cultures for it’s incredible healing properties, from fighting fungus all the way to helping with insomnia.
The Egyptians embalmed their dead in it, and even used it to anoint the tomb of the infamous King Tut and Cleopatra. The Romans used it for it’s smell and it’s rejuvenation in many of their intense beauty routines. And while you may not be wrapping any mummies, or steeping yourself in oil for a week, there are still some awesome uses you definitely can take advantage of with Spikenard essential oil. Let’s get started!
What Is Spikenard Essential Oil?
Spikenard oil is a very unique oil that is extracted from Spikenard plant. Spikenard is a pretty looking plant that grows about three feet high, and has beautiful pink bell-shaped flowers growing out of it, with long stems and large leaves at the base. A member of the valerian family of roots and herbs, Spikenard is also known as Nard, Nardin, and Muskroot. It’s genus species is Nardostachys Jatamansi, not to be confused with the american Spikenard known as Aralia Racemosa.
When purchasing, it is important to make sure that the label says Nardostachys Jatamansi, or “Indian Spikenard”, since American Spikenard is a completely different species, and will not at all have the effects we will describe in this article. As a general rule with any essential oils, make sure you know the genus species (scientific name) of the oil you are looking for, and make sure that the label specifies that is indeed from that species. There are often different plants from different parts of the world with similar names.
Spikenard oil is extracted from the underground stems of the plant, called Rhizomes, which are crushed and distilled through steam distillation. The result is a thick, deep amber colored liquid, with a strong, earthy, musky smell, not unlike the smell of damp moss.
Where Is The Spikenard Plant Found?
Spikenard is an extremely historically significant plant, almost legendary. To this day it is still relatively rare, and can only be found deep within the massive Himalayas of China, Nepal, and India, at a very specific altitude of 10,000 ft to 16,000 feet. Throughout the ages, Spikenard was always praised for its’ rich fragrance, and was often used in perfumes and ointments.
Spikenard is famed for its healing properties, which gave it a sort of mystical and spiritual significance to many ancient cultures, especially the Indians and the Egyptians. Because of it’s rarity and prestigious status, as well as its’ spiritual properties, Spikenard oil was often used to anoint kings and royalty, and is even mentioned several times in the Bible. So now that you know a little about what it is, let’s talk about what it can do for you!
Benefits Of Spikenard Essential Oil For Hair
Spikenard has proven itself to be very effective in preventing hair loss and stimulating healthy hair to grow back faster. Like anything in our body, the roots of our hair need adequate amounts of oxygen to grow and develop. When the scalp is not getting enough oxygen filled blood, the roots weaken, and the hair falls out early. To strengthen your roots, mix 5 drops of Spikenard oil into 10 ml of jojoba oil.
Then, put a small and even amount on both of your hands, and massage it firmly into your scalp using circular motions. After a few minutes, bend over so that your head is lower than heart, and continue massaging the oil into your hair for a minute or two. The Spikenard oil’s stimulant properties will help stimulate blood flow to your scalp, and bending over will further stimulate this increased blood flow. Combine that with the firm circular massage, and your scalp is getting a whole new wave of much needed oxygen-rich blood.
This same exact procedure can also help prevent premature graying, as well as promote an overall healthier scalp. Spikenard oil is historically famous for it’s anti-fungal and anti inflammatory properties, as well as being very rich in antioxidants. In a nutshell, this means that it helps get rid of bad skin, and helps new good skin grow in it’s place.
A healthy scalp with healthy skin is crucial to preventing graying, because the hair follicles grow just under the skin, and these follicles are where the melanin, the chemical which gives our hair it’s color, is produced. Unhealthy follicles may produce lower levels of melanin, and the lower the level of melanin, the less color will be in the hair, until eventually it will just a be dull gray, or even white.
Last but certainly not least, the third way that Spikenard oil can help prevent hair loss is through its ability to reduce stress when applied to certain spots on the skin or when inhaled through vaporization. In many ancient civilizations, Spikenard was the go to remedy of choice for stress, anxiety, and even insomnia, which is one of the reasons it was so expensive and desirable, especially among the elite.
Stress takes an incredible toll on our system. Besides being plain stressful, it causes the formation of many new free radicals, which wreak havoc on all parts of the body, and one of the most common things to go are the roots of the hair. Remember, what our hair and skin look like on the outside are a direct reflection of our physical and emotional health on the inside. So Spikenard’s ability to reduce stress, combined with it’s ability to counteract the effects that stress has on the hair, makes it an excellent choice for long term hair care! To reduce stress, simply place a few drops of Spikenard oil into a large bowl of steaming water, and inhale deeply for several minutes. You can also apply a few drops directly to the skin on the back of your neck.
It is important to note that in order to achieve these results, you need to use this procedure consistently, in combination with a healthy lifestyle. If you eat unhealthy, don’t get enough sleep and continue putting toxic chemicals in your hair, your hair will reflect that. That being said, the easiest issue to fix is to switch to a more natural shampoo, which will not only stop damaging your even further but will help it heal and will be a perfect carrier for a few drops of your new Spikenard oil. So start with Spikenard oil and a natural shampoo, and say hello to healthier, happier hair!
Benefits Of Spikenard Essential Oil For Skin
Another reason Spikenard was and is so popular is its strong healing abilities for skin. It is an extremely effective anti-fungal, which simply means that it does a heck of good job at fighting fungus and and fungal infections. This may include athletes foot, ringworm, yeast infections, jock itch, and other infections often caused by excessive moisture and poor hygiene.
Spikenard oil is generally safe to apply directly without diluting, but if you are nervous or have a history of sensitive skin, you can dilute it with a small amount of a carrier oil before applying. It can also be applied to small cuts and scrapes to help prevent bacteria growth and infection, and to speed up the overall healing process.
In this same vein, Spikenard oil has also proven itself to be a super effective anti inflammatory. So you can apply it to skin that is red and inflamed do to irritation, as well as for more serious issues such as psoriasis and dermatitis. Not only does it help cool the inflammation, it also helps stimulate circulation to the area to encourage new and healthy skin cell growth.
— Hallie Sawyer (@Hallie_Sawyer) December 8, 2016
Are There Side Effects To Using Spikenard Essential Oil?
There are no particular side effects specific to Spikenard oil. It’s important to remember that when using any essential oil, you’re using an extremely concentrated and potent extract. Use it with research and caution. The big pharmaceutical companies want you to believe that natural remedies are all nonsense and weak old wives tales, but if you found this article, you’re probably starting to learn more about essential oils starting to realize that this is not true. So use your oils with care and respect.
While Spikenard oil is generally safe to apply directly to the skin, when using on more sensitive areas such as the face and the groin, as well as infected or inflamed skin, always dilute it in a carrier oil first to see how it feels and to see how your skin reacts to it. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to apply the essential oil to a small patch of skin first to see how that patch reacts over the next 24-48 hours before applying it to a larger area. Because of the lack of medical research done on Spikenard, pregnant women and children should not use it without first consulting with a health professional. This also applies to people with any prior health conditions, especially people with epilepsy, as well anyone who is mediated.
So, now you know all about Spikenard oil. It is definitely one of the more expensive and lesser known essential oils, but that doesn’t make it inferior – not by a long shot. If you’re just looking for a nice introductory all around essential oil to moisturize your body and make you smell good, maybe Spikenard isn’t for you. Try coconut, avocado, or castor. But if you’re looking for a heavy hitter with some serious healing properties and you aren’t interested in lathering yourself with some toxic lab experiment in a crimp tube that your doctor prescribed, Spikenard may be just the ticket!