Indian Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: No Name Given
Posted on: February 29, 2004

I love your wide selection of herbs on your online catalog, and I have recently ordered some off your website. I believe that either I, or your catalog is in error; you have listed Spikenard on it, but the latin names do not match for true Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora). Is your Spikenard the one of the bible, that grows in the Himalayans?

You touch on one of the perennial problems of the plant world: that some common names refer to two or more different, and often unrelated, plants. In this case "spikenard" is correctly used to refer to the American plant, Aralia racemosa. Perhap more correctly this plant should be called "American spikenard". Other names include "Indian root", "life-of-man", "nard" and "spignet". Another American plant from the same genus, Aralia nudicaulis is known as "small spikenard".

Nardostachys grandiflora (syn. N. jatamansi) is the "Indian nard" or "Indian spikenard" of the Himalayas. It grows in mountains from northern India to southwestern China. It is considered an excellent substitute for valerian, and thus it is also known as "Indian valerian". The root is used for the treatment of a variety of nervous conditions including epilepsy, hysteria, insomnia, depression, and tension headaches. It is also scented, having a scent similar to patchouli.

As of this year [2004], we do not have seeds or plants of the Indian spikenard.

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