Discovered by the Egyptologists in Cleopatra's perfume ointment jars, spikenard has traveled from its origin above 8,000 feet in the Himalayas across the silk routes on camel's backs for over millennia. Written about in the "Song of Solomon", Jesus had his feet anointed with Spikenard by Mary Magdelene before the Last Supper. The oil was used by Roman perfumers and the Mughal empress Nur Jehan in her rejuvenating cosmetics preparations. Dioscordes wrote that the herb was good for nausea, flatulent indigestion, menstrual problems, inflammations and conjunctivitis. A pungent rhizome root with a heavy, sweet-woody, spicy-animal odor.
The herb encourages sweating making it useful in treating fevers and since it is stimulating and detoxifying, it is commonly used to treat the early stages of illness. Infusions and decoctions are used to treat colds and coughs and other such respiratory conditions as asthma, as well as for rheumatism. Applied externally as a poultice, it is used on a number of different skin conditions, including eczema.
Looking like a dreadlock, this fragrant root is known as a "yogi herb", used by yogis for millennia for it is said it increase awareness and is traditionally used by meditators to "ground the mind". Valued by Ayurvedic and Himalayan physicians for its powerful sedative properties as well as for its soothing effect on the skin and restorative effect on the hair. It is used traditionally for complexion, strength, spasmodic hysteria, nervous convulsions, nervous headache, epilepsy, and heart palipitations. In Ayurveda, spikenard is traditionally used in hair preparations to not only calm the mind, but to keep hair from falling out. Its earthy, scent is said to please the earth spirits. Commonly burned as incense among Himalayan dwellers to calm and sanctify the environment.
Jatamansi oil is obtained by steam distillation of dried rhizomes of Nardostachys jatamansi D.C.
1. Organoleptic Properties:
Appearance: Fluid to slightly viscous liquid
Color: Greenish blue
Aroma: Heavy, sweet-woody and spicy-animal odor
2. Physico - Chemical Properties:
Specific Gravity: 0.9300 to 0.9587 at 25º C
Refractive Index: 1.5055 to 1.5458 at 25º C
Acid No: 1.5 to 8
Ester No: 6 to 45
Ester No: after Acetylation: 40 to 65
Solubility: Soluble in 0.4 to 1.5 vol. of 90% alcohol