Spikenard Essential Oil (Nardostachys jatamansi)


Spikenard may also be referred to as American spikenard, Small spikenard, Indian root, Spice berry, Spignet, Life-of-man, Petty morel. It is typically processed in India & Nepal using steam distilled as a method for extracting oil from the root.


Spikenard oil comes from the rhizome of the Nardostachys jatamansi plant. It has a floral scent. It has an antiseptic and sedative effect.

Essential Facts

  • Aroma Description:

    Earthy Musky Woody

  • Common Name(s): American spikenard, Small spikenard, Indian root, Spice berry, Spignet, Life-of-man, Petty morel
  • Synonyms(s) for Nardostachys jatamansi: Fedia grandiflora, Nardostachys chinensis, Nardostachys gracilis, Nardostachys grandiflora, Patrinia jatamansi

  • Botanical Family: Caprifoliaceae
  • Botanical Genus: Nardostachys
  • Chemical Family: Sesquiterpenes
  • Major Compounds: Nardol, Formic Acid, a-Selinene, Dihydro-B-ionone, Nardol Isomer, Selinene Isomer, Propionic Acid, B-Caryophyllene, Cubebol
  • Perfumery Note: Base
  • Consistency: Medium
  • Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium
  • Color: Pale Amber to Amber or Greenish-Amber in Color
  • Countries of Production: India & Nepal
  • Indigenous Country: Nepal
  • Cultivation: Wild Harvested
  • Processing Methods: Steam Distilled
  • Part Typically Used: Root
  • Shelf Life: 7-8 years
  • Conservation Status:  [CR] Critically Endangered
    IUCN Red List category abbreviations (version 3.1, 2001)
  • Wild Harvested Wild Harvested
  • Vegan Vegan
  • Not Pregnancy Safe Not recommended or safe if pregnant or nursing
  • Not Child Safe Not recommend or safe for children

Essential Details

Cautions & Safety

Cautions when using Spikenard:

Tisserand and Young do not indicate any special precautions when using Spikenard Essential Oil. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 428-429.]

Safety Precautions for Spikenard:

Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

Contraindications of Spikenard:

The oil should not be applied at full-strength to the skin or used in excessive amounts.