Spikenard oil is a precious, aromatic essential oil. It is also known as nard, Nardin, and muskroot. This essential oil comes from the root of Nardostachys jatamansi, which grows in the Himalayas of Nepal, China, and India.
Spikenard was the most precious of all oriental perfume ingredients in the ancient world and it is still highly valued today. It has a strong, herbaceous scent with sweet undertones, and is used as an ingredient for different oils and ointments.
Spikenard oil has been widely known to improve mental clarity and calmness. Therefore, it has been used for meditation and prayer by the Native American Indians. In addition, it is also said to be effective in alleviating sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.
Some studies have shown that spikenard oil can stimulate the body's immune system and increase its defenses against many diseases. Therefore, it has been regarded as an effective remedy for the common cold. Furthermore, this oil is also claimed to help cure skin diseases such as acne and eczema since it possesses antibacterial properties.
Spikenard oil is obtained through steam distillation of the nard roots. It has a brown or colorless liquid with a slight characteristic odor that has a floral, peppery scent. Spikenard essential oil is known for its many therapeutic properties that include anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiseptic, cicatrizant (promoting the development of new tissue), emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow), sedative, and tonic.
The Gospel of John records that Mary of Bethany anointed the feet of Jesus with fragrant oil, or spikenard, and wiped his feet with her hair. Soon after this event took place, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty silver coins. Some scholars believe that one ointment jar could contain a year's salary. Thus the price of the ointment could have purchased two hundred and fifty denarii worth of property, making Judas' betrayal even more extreme in value.
Nard is mentioned several times in the Bible, although translated differently each time it is referenced. In Song of Solomon 1:12, nard or spikenard is mentioned as a symbol of worth and opulence. The women in the Song of Solomon 2:13 uses spikenard to anoint "my beloved" (king) before he goes "into his garden, my sister, my spouse".