November 13, 2013
Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of Spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. (John 12:3)
The first time I smelled Spikenard, I wasn’t sure what I thought. I detected the slight hint of Valerian, which I’m not overly fond of. I wondered if Jesus really enjoyed the aroma when Mary poured it on his feet. However, after learning more about the amazing benefits of essential oils, I had to wonder if what Jesus found pleasing had more to do with the scent of Mary’s motives, than it did the scent of the oil (Mark 14:9).
A tranquilizing relative of the Valerian family, Spikenard has the most powerful sedative action in aromatherapy and it is often recommended for relieving stress. The relaxing properties of this precious oil has been known to sooth nerves and ease anxiety. Historically, it has been used to treat mental disorders, as well as to calm those in trauma.
“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Mark 14:9
I have often wondered why Mary chose Spikenard to anoint our Lord. Now, after learning about some of the properties of the oil, I have to wonder if perhaps Mary’s feminine nurturing spirit was attempting to lovingly bless and sooth our Lord before the trauma to come. Is that part of why Jesus was so impressed by her sacrifice (He always considers heart motive)? If so, this adds to the beauty and value of Mary’s actions during such a horribly stressful time!
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
Such beautiful imagery for those who understand the power of essential oils. We, the Church, are to be that influence in the world! We are the diffuser; His Holy Spirit is the healing, fragrant oil!
Spikenard is also said to promote cellular respiration and digestion and may be useful for balancing the male and female hormonal system. Spikenard is especially valued during the onset of puberty and during the menopausal phases (in a house full of girl, like ours, this is a good thing!).
It also may help relieve hormonal disturbances like insomnia, hot flashes, rosacea, headache, and night sweats.
Try a few drops of Narde in a blend or alone to help restless sleep, chronic insomnia, and tension. According to the book, Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt it is also good for dealing with dandruff and psoriasis.
The Essential Oil Desk Reference says Spikenard is useful for treating heart arrhythmias; and according to Dietrich Gumbel, Ph.D. it strengthens the heart and improves circulation.
TO PROMOTE SOUND SLEEP: Rub hands together with 1-3 drops of spikenard. Cup hands over face and inhale a minimum of 30-60 seconds to induce sleep. Place a couple of drops on bottoms of feet. Blend with Helichrysum to aid in emotional healing after a trauma.
APPLICATION: According to the Essential Oil Desk Reference, apply 2-4 drops on location, directly inhale, diffuse, or take as a dietary supplement.
I discovered that, while I don’t care for the scent on its own, it blends very well with other oils. Notice the ancient perfume recipe included below.
Ancient Spikenard Perfume Recipe
(A variation of a perfume found in King Tutankhamun‘s tomb*)
2 T. sweet almond oil (or your favorite carrier oil)
6 drops Spikenard
6 drops Frankincense
2 drops Geranium
If using coconut oil, bring it to to a liquid state first, and blend with essential oils.
*Information regarding Tutankhamun’s ointment may be found in Aytoun Ellis’ “The Essence of Beauty: A History of Perfume and Cosmetics,” published by the MacMillan Company, New York, 1960.
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By the way, I am not a doctor – just a mom who uses essential oils in her own family. Please know that any information provided on The Common Scents Mom is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is your responsibility to educate yourself and address any health or medical needs you may have with your physician. Please seek professional help when needed.