Mountain Rose Herbs

Spikenard Root

Also known as

Aralia racemosa, American Spikenard, Fleabane, Manroot, Wild Sarsaparilla, Indian Root, Life-of-Man, Old Man’s Root, Petty Morel, Pigeon Weed, and Spignet.

Introduction

Known since ancient times, spikenard is named in the Old Testament as one of the ingredients in the incense burned in the holy temple of Jerusalem. The powdered root is cited in some Islamic traditions as the forbidden fruit Adam ate in the garden of Eden against God’s wishes. In medieval Europe spikenard was part of the spice blend used in Hypocras, a sweetened wine drink. Spikenard root belongs to the same family as the ginseng root and is prized for many of the same reasons. Native to the Eastern United States as well as the mountains of northern India, China and Japan, spikenard is a fragrant plant with a pungent root. The root has long been used medicinally by Native American tribes. It has a complex spicy, earthy aroma which is said to repel fleas, thus giving it the name fleabane, among others. It has a mild, pleasant licorice like flavor, and has been often used as a substitute for sarsaparilla.

Constituents

Volatile oil, tannins, and diterpene acids.

Parts Used

Root

Typical Preparations

Decoction of the root as a tea and seldom found in extracts and capsules

Summary

This member of the ginseng family has often been used as a substitute for sarsaparilla, and is used in many of the same ways.

Precautions

Not recommended while pregnant

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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