Historical Spikenard for Sleep

SpikenardWhen I mention Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) essential oil, I usually get quizzical looks. I then say it is also called Himalayan Spikenard, and the word Spikenard rings a bell. “Its reputation is ancient. It is an ingredient in some formulas for Kyphi, the famed sacred Egyptian temple perfume. Spikenard was also a component of the sacred incense offered in the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem. … The ancient Greeks had a beloved perfume fragrance based on spikenard. … It was ointment of spikenard that Mary … used to anoint the feet of Jesus Christ, filling the entire room with its aroma.” This aromatic from antiquity lasted through time and is a respected essential oil today.

The dark green oil is important in Ayurveda, the medical system used throughout India. Jatamansi is helpful for the nervous system and is “one of the most effective essential oils for supporting a calm mind and balanced body. Those who suffer from worry or other overly active and mental habits will benefit immensely from regular use. … Jatamansi is calming and grounding and is highly revered for its ability to support deep sleep.”

Jatamansi is used in perfumery, as a fixative. It also has uses for the body as a powerful antifungal with cases of psoriasis, athlete’s foot, fungal infections, and dandruff.

The scent of jatamansi can be heavy and woody, so combining it with a lighter essential oil can lift its aroma. In the blend below, lavender and sweet orange make the blend brighter but still relaxing.

Evening Repose
9 drops Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) essential oil
6 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil
4 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil
Mix the essential oils in a dropper bottle and add to a diffuser per manufacturer’s instructions.

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