Nardostachys jatamansi

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Nardostachys grandiflora.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Dipsacales
Family: Valerianaceae
Genus: Nardostachys
Species: N. jatamansi
Binomial name
Nardostachys jatamansi
(D.Don) DC.
  • Nardostachys grandiflora DC.
  • Patrinia jatamansi D.Don (basionym)

Nardostachys jatamansi is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas. It is a source of a type of intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, spikenard. The oil has, since ancient times, been used as a perfume, as a medicine and in religious contexts. It is also called spikenard, nard, nardin, or muskroot.


Nardostachys jatamansi is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the eastern Himalayas, primarily in a belt through Kumaon, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan.[3] The plant grows to about 1 m in height and has pink, bell-shaped flowers. It is found in the altitude of about 3000–5000 meters. Rhizomes (underground stems) can be crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, which is very thick in consistency. Nard oil is used as a perfume, an incense, a sedative, and an herbal medicine said to fight insomnia, birth difficulties, and other minor ailments.[4]

Historical use[edit]

Main article: Spikenard

Nardostachys jatamansi may have been used as an ingredient in the incense known as spikenard, although lavender has also been suggested as a candidate for the spikenard of classical times.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "TPL, treatment of Nardostachys jatamansi". The Plant List; Version 1. (published on the internet). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT). 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ Patrinia jatamansi (the basionym of Nardostachys jatamansi) was originally described and published in Prodromus Florae Nepalensis 159. 1825. "Name - Patrinia jatamansi D.Don". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: MOBOT. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ Bakhru, H.K. (1993). Herbs that heal : natural remedies for good health (3. print. ed.). New Delhi u.a.: Orient Paperbacks. p. 117. ISBN 8122201334. 
  4. ^ Dalby, Andrew (2000), Dangerous Tastes: the story of spices, London: British Museum Press, ISBN 0-7141-2720-5  (US ISBN 0-520-22789-1) pp. 83–88

External links[edit]