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. 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.
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.
- "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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Spikenard.|
- Original botanical description by David Don from Prodromus Florae Nepalensis (1825), in Latin (archived by the Biodiversity Heritage Library)
- Caldecott, Todd (2006). Ayurveda: The Divine Science of Life. Elsevier/Mosby. ISBN 0-7234-3410-7. Contains a detailed monograph on Nardostachys grandiflora, N. jatamansi (Jatamamsi) as well as a discussion of health benefits and usage in clinical practice. Available online at http://www.toddcaldecott.com/index.php/herbs/learning-herbs/354-jatamamsi
- Celtnet Spice Guide information page for spikenard