Herb: Spikenard

Latin name: Nardostachys grandiflora

Synonyms: Nardostachys jatamansii

Family: Valerianaceae (Valerian Family)

Medicinal use of Spikenard:

The root is antispasmodic, carminative, deobstruent, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, laxative, nervine, sedative, stimulant and stomachic. It is an excellent substitute for valerian, Valeriana officinalis, and is taken internally in the treatment of epilepsy, hysteria and convulsive affections, nervous indigestion, insomnia, depression and tension headaches. Externally, it is used as a deodorant and to treat rashes. A paste of the root is used externally to treat haemorrhoids. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. Use this remedy with caution, overdoses are toxic.

Description of the plant:


25 cm
(9 3/4 inch)

August to


Habitat of the herb:

Rocks, ledges and open slopes, 3600 - 4800 metres.

Edible parts of Spikenard:

Used as a condiment. No more details are given.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil is obtained from the root and young stems. It is harvested before the leaves unfurl. It is used in perfumery and as a hair tonic where it is said to make the hair grow faster and also to turn it black. The dried leaves are used as an incense.

Propagation of Spikenard:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. The seed requires light for germination. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rocks, ledges and open slopes, 3600 - 4800 metres.

Known hazards of Nardostachys grandiflora:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.