According to the orthodox Christian Holy Wednesday is dedicated to
Magdalena, the sinful woman that showed repentance and washed the feet of Jesus. According to researchers the oil used by Magdalena was derived by a plant called spikenard.
Spikenard (lat. nardostachys jatamansi, greek ναρδοστάχυς) is a plant that flourishes in the
Himalayas at a height of 3000-5000 meters. The essential oil of spikenard was widely used in ancient times. It was a basic constituent of Kyphi (a compound incense used in ancient for religious and medical purposes) and the Ayurvedic botanical medicines used in Egypt . The Romans used spikenard to produce the fragrance called nardinium. India
Today the use of spikenard essential oil is restricted due to its rareness and high price. It can be used as fragrance, incense, sedative and botanical medicine.
In aromatherapy spikenard is ideal for promoting physical and emotional tranquility and has good effects on serious skin problems. The ancient Chinese medical text for incense Xian Pu, written around 1100 a. C., refers to the relaxing properties of spikenard when inhaled. It also mentions the use and importance of spikenard in recipes containing sandalwood and aloe vera. The Chinese used spikenard also against anorexia, stomach problems and vomit. It acts beneficially when dealing with insomnia, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, dandruff, epilepsy, convulsions, palpitation, migraine, colic, mature skin, skin irritations, stretch marks, jaundice, kidney colic, respiratory problems, male fertility problems. Spikenard is diuretic, strengthens the hair, calms the nerves, lifts the spirit and acts against depression and hysteria. It can be used as a constituent of incense blends for prayer and meditation.
Up to day no adverse reactions have been reported when spikenard is used at suggested dosage. However, extremely high dosage may induce heavy narcosis and even death in a few hours.
Other essential oils that mix well with spikenard are: cedar wood, lavender, patchouli, pine, vetiver, lemon, clary sage and neroli.
Spikenard essential oil has microbicidal properties, is beneficial for hair and skin and improves the mood. In periods of anxiety and stress use the following blend to anoint your body:
30 ml almond oil,
7 drops essential oil spikenard,
2 drops essential oil lavender,
2 drops essential oil vetiver,
2 drops essential oil sandalwood,
5 drops essential oil lemon.
Perfume your home pleasantly and create a relaxing atmosphere using in the oil burner a blend that will contain equal amounts of essential oils spikenard and ylang ylang.
You will find a lot of information about essential oils, their spiritual significance, their effect on mental function and recipes to make your own mystical blends in the extremely interesting book Aromatherapy Anointing Oils: Spiritual Blessings, Ceremonies, and Affirmations.