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spikenard(spīk`närd), name for several plants. The biblical spikenard, or nard, was a costly aromatic ointment, preserved in alabaster boxes, whose chief ingredient is believed to have been derived from Nardostachys grandiflora (or N. jatamansi), a plant of the family Valerianaceae (valerianvalerian,
common name for some members of the Valerianaceae, a family chiefly of herbs and shrubs of temperate and colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere; a few species, however, are native to the Andes.
..... Click the link for more information. family). Such was the precious box of ointment that Mary Magdalen broke over Jesus' feet. The American spikenard, or Indian root, is Aralia racemosa, of the family Araliaceae (ginsengginseng
, common name for the Araliaceae, a family of tropical herbs, shrubs, and trees that are often prickly and sometimes grow as climbing forms. The true ginseng (Panax ginseng
..... Click the link for more information. family). The fragrant rhizome of both of these plants is still sometimes used medicinally. The false Solomon's seal, of the family Liliaceae (lilylily,
common name for the Liliaceae, a plant family numbering several thousand species of as many as 300 genera, widely distributed over the earth and particularly abundant in warm temperate and tropical regions.
..... Click the link for more information. family), is sometimes called wild spikenard. Spikenards are all classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. but differ in the classes, orders, and families to which they belong.
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In Valerian family, grows to 3ft (1m), pink bell-shaped flowers. Roots traditionally crushed and distilled for intensely aromatic thick oil that's used as perfume. Root used as sedative, for sleep disorders (like valerian), diuretic, for rashes, skin allergies, anti-fungal, balancing menstrual cycle. Also called Indian Spikenard, Muskroot. SPIKENARD American Spikenard (Aralia racemosa) Red berries in ball clusters. Root is most commonly used for lung problems like asthma, cough, kidney problems, reduce uric acid, syphilis and rheumatism. Also used to shorten labor and ease childbirth. Grows up to 6ft (2m)
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
1. an aromatic Indian valerianaceous plant, Nardostachys jatamans, having rose-purple flowers
2. any of various similar or related plants
3. a North American araliaceous plant, Aralia racemosa, having small green flowers and an aromatic root
4. an aromatic ointment obtained from this plant
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005