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Spikenard is
Spikenard Herb
a aromatic rhizome. The botanical name has its roots in the Hindu word Jatamansi which means "lock of hair." It's use goes back in several cultures and religions. Medically it's part of the Ayurveda, and is traditionally considered to calm the nerves and promote awareness and strengthen the mind. It is in the same family as Valeriana jatamansi (Indian valerian) and was sometimes used treatment of hysteria.

A rare Chinese medical text about incense, titled Xian pu, (Jap. Koh fu) which was written around 1100 c.e. is today preserved in Baieido's library of incense literature. The Xiang pu mentions the calming effects of Spikenard when used in incense. It also mentions it's use and importance in formulas containing Sandalwood & Aloeswood. Today it is used mainly for making incense sticks (senko), but in Chinese medicine it was also used as a raw material for loss of appetite, stomach problems, and vomiting.

Spikenard is one of the most common ingredients in ancient Japanese incense recipes. One of the most famous is the Plum Blossom formula:

Aloeswood 4
Spikenard Herb
Cloves 2 ryo (30grams)
Seashell (Kaiko) 2 bu (0.8grams)
Spikenard 2 shu (0.14grams)
Musk 3 shu (0.21grams)

Variations of this formula are still used by Buddhist temples in Japan to this day. Baika is not a specific formula but consists of a number of variations of Awaseko traditionally used in the Spring! Other variations are:

Jinko 3.1 oz
Clove 1 oz.
Kaiko 1 oz.
Sandalwood 0.5 oz
Spikenard 0.20 oz.
Ajowan seed 0.1875 oz.
Ambergris 0.25 oz.
Musk 0.4 oz
Borneol 0.375 oz.


Aloeswood 4 ryo (60 grams)
Cloves 2 ryo(30grams)
Seashell 3 ryo (45grams)
Musk 2 ryo (30grams)
Sandalwood 1 ryo (15grams)
Frankincense 1 ryo(15grams)

There are many other Baika recipes, and most of the traditional ones contained Aloeswood.

Other useful herb information: Yohimbe | Wheatgrass | Garlic | Nutmeg | Mugwort | Pycnogenol | Gymnema

Page Content: spikenard oil , spikenard ointment , spikenard root .


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