Therapeutic Properties Described in The Aromatherapy Literature
From The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy1:
- Anti-inflammatory, Bactericidal, Deodorant, Laxative, Sedative, Tonic
- “the ultimate essential oil to find inner balance in the emotional, spiritual, and physical interplay of energies:
- Dioscorides described Spikenard as “warming and drying”
- Excellent in skin care applications for “balancing, soothing and rejuvenating”
From World of Aromatherapy2:
- Found to have antibacterial and antifungal properties
- Restores the physiological balance of the skin
- General harmonizing, balancing, and relaxing effects
Spikenard in Research
Spikenard has been investigated for its therapeutic properties, primarily centering around its psychologically beneficial properties. Likely due to its strong antioxidant activity, spikenard has been shown to have memory and learning enhancing3,4, stress-reducing4,5,6, anti-depressant6, neuroprotective7, and liver-protective8 activities.
Summary of Research Studies
- An experiment in mice found that doses of spikenard extract improved learning and memory in young mice and also had a reversal effect on amnesia in aged mice, possibly due to its antioxidant properties.3
- Rats dosed with spikenard had significantly better learning and memory following introduction to stress. The study concluded that spikenard "has a protective effect of stress-induced impairments in hippocampus-dependent learning and memory behavior in rats."4
- Spikenard was shown to significantly reduce biomarkers of stress in rats. The researchers suggest that this anti-stress effect is linked to spikenard's antioxidant activity.5
- Spikenard had anti-depressant-like and anti-stress effects in rats placed in a stressed condition over a 3-week period.6
- Spikenard was found to have a neuroprotective effect in rats, minimizing brain damage from blockage of the blood supply to the brain.7
- In a study in rats, spikenard extract showed significant liver-protecting activity, minimizing experimentally induced liver damage.8
Spikenard essential oil is considered non-toxic, a non-irritant and non-sensitizing. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult a physician. Individuals with epilepsy are advised against using this oil.
1 Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. International Centre of Holystic Aromatherapy, 2003.
2 NAHA Women of Aromatherapy. World of Aromatherapy. Frog Books, 1996.
3 Joshi, Hanumanthachar & Parle, Milind. “Nardostachys Jatamansi Improves Learning and Memory in Mice.” Journal of Medicinal Food, vol. 9, no. 1, Mar. 2006.
4 Karanth, K. S., et al. “Nardostachys Jatamansi Extract Prevents Chronic Restraint Stress-Induced Learning and Memory Deficits in a Radial Arm Maze Task.” Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, vol. 3, no. 2, 2012, p. 125., doi:10.4103/0976-9668.101879.
5 Lyle, Nazmun, et al. “Stress Modulating Antioxidant Effect of Nardostachys Jatamansi.” Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol. 46, no. 1, Feb. 2009, pp. 93–98.
6 Lyle, Nazmun, et al. “The Role of Antioxidant Properties of Nardostachys Jatamansi in Alleviation of the Symptoms of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 202, no. 2, 14 Sept. 2009, pp. 285–290., doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2009.04.005.
7 Salim, Sofiyan, et al. “Protective Effect of Nardostachys Jatamansi in Rat Cerebral Ischemia.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, vol. 74, no. 2, Jan. 2003, pp. 481–486., doi:10.1016/s0091-3057(02)01030-4.
8 Ali, Shakir, et al. “Nardostachys Jatamansi Protects against Liver Damage Induced by Thioacetamide in Rats.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 71, no. 3, Aug. 2000, pp. 359–363., doi:10.1016/s0378-8741(99)00153-1.