8 Surprising Benefits of Spikenard Essential Oil

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

The health benefits of spikenard essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, laxative, sedative, and uterine substance.

The traditional use of this plant was for the skin and female reproductive organs such as the uterus and ovaries. Due to its earthy and somewhat wet, soil-like smell, which resembles the smell of moss, it is also used in aromatherapy as a sedative and calming agent.

This plant is very famous in the Indian Subcontinent by the name of Jatamansi and is widely used in herbal medicines. Several herbal, medicinal preparations based on this plant can be found on the market, particularly in India and a few of its neighboring countries. This plant is native to Nepal and is called Nardostachys jatamansi in botanical terminology.

The essential oil of spikenard is extracted by steam distillation of the resin obtained from this plant and it contains aristolene, calarene, clalarenol, coumarin, dihydroazulenes, jatamanshinic acid, nardol, nardostachone, valerianol, valeranal, and valeranone as its chief components, which are the sources of its medicinal properties. [1]

Health Benefits of Spikenard Essential Oil

The uses of spikenard discussed above are not its only uses. Its essential oil has a number of other medicinal uses which are explained in greater detail below.

Skin Care

This property, along with its antibacterial property, makes the essential oil of spikenard an efficient skincare agent. It helps cure ailments caused by fungal infections on the skin and inside the body, including food poisoning by a fungus, dermatitis, patches on the skin, itching, deformation of the skin, and psoriasis.

Prevents Bacterial Infections

This is one of the properties which makes spikenard oil a potent remedy for many skin conditions that result from bacterial infections. It not only works on the skin but also helps terminate bacterial growth inside the body as well. It can be applied on wounds to protect them from bacterial infections and is found to be effective in curing bacterial infections in the urethra, urinary bladder, and kidneys, as well as in the treatment of Athlete’s Foot, food poisoning, septic.

Close up of fresh spikenard in a forest background

Spikenard is at least as endangered as Rosewood, which is a slow-growing rainforest tree and is not easy to cultivate. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Eliminates Odor

The earthy and mossy fragrance of the essential oil of spikenard is pleasant to the nostrils and the mind. It is very soothing to nerves and mind and gives a comfortable feeling. It is no wonder that such a fragrance would be used as a deodorant. Furthermore, it is not harsh and does not give you headaches or allergies as many synthetic deodorants do.

Reduces Inflammation

The anti-inflammatory property of spikenard essential oil makes it fight nearly all sorts of inflammation, whether they affect the nervous, digestive or respiratory systems. [2]

Improves Memory

An animal study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, showed that 200 mg/kg dose of spikenard ethanolic extract improved learning and memory, and also reversed induced amnesia. A more recent 2018 study, published in the Metabolic Brain Disease, revealed that the extract also had an anxiolytic effect on the brain. [3] [4]

Acts as a Laxative

Spikenard essential oil works as a laxative for treating constipation or improper excretion, which is the root cause of almost seventy percent of ailments that we suffer from. Laxatives are there to help, but many of them (particularly the synthetic ones) are very harsh on the entire digestive and excretory system and dry out the inner walls of the digestive tract, the intestines, and the excretory tracts by washing out the mucous membrane.

Promotes Healthy Sleep

The essential oil of spikenard is a well-known sedative and helps maintain physical, mental, and psychological balance. It sedates inflammation in the digestive and nervous system, irritations, nervous afflictions, convulsions, stress, and feelings of anxiety, anger, and panic. It also sedates cardiac problems such as abnormal palpitations and restlessness. These sedating and relaxing effects also help patients with insomnia get a night of healthy and peaceful sleep. [5]

Boosts Uterine Health

This oil is used as depurative for the uterus and the ovaries. It stimulates the uterus and ovaries and the secretion of hormones like estrogen and progesterone, which help maintain the proper health and reproductive capabilities of these organs.

Other Benefits

It can be used to treat allergies, fever, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and the pain of angina, as well as aids in the regeneration of cells, the healing of wounds, the circulation of blood and lymph, and the secretion of hormones and enzymes. In aromatherapy, this oil is employed for inducing mental peace, harmony, and truthfulness. [6]

Word of Caution: There are no inherent threats from this essential oil. This oil is non-irritating and non-toxic.

Blending: The essential oils of frankincense, lavender, myrrh, orange, petitgrain, rose and sage blend well with the essential oil of spikenard.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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