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Spikenard (Aralia racemosa)

spikenard aralia racemosa

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Classification: Perennial

Psychoactive?: Psychoactive doesn't mean what people think it means. It simply means, that a drug has an effect on the mind. This doesn't necessarily mean the effects will produce a "high", or even be noticable. Spikenard is a sedative at low doses, and a stimulant at higher doses, much like Kratom. (Takemoto, Ito, Shiraki, Yagura, & Honda, 2007) As of May 2024, I have never tried this plant, so I can't give my view. If it is psychoactive, you don't hear about it often. I wouldn't call it a mainstream fact if it is one. Here's a reddit thread on the subject

Plant Family: Araliaceae; Genus: Aralia; Species: A. racemosa; [a.k.a. "Nardostachys jatamansi"]

Common nicknames: Jatamansi[8] American spikenard, small spikenard, Indian root, spice berry, spignet, life-of-man, petty morel

Native To: North America, from Canada, to Virginia.[1] Other strains that are close thrive elsewhere in North America.[1] It could easily be confused for BeautyBerry.

Native American Use: Native Americans consumed the aromatic roots and young leaves ( by mouth/eating ), in soups and other culinary preparations.[1] They used it medicinally for a variety of ailments.[1] It was used by Native Indians as a: carminative, antiseptic, in cough preparations, pain in the breast, mortifications, rheumatism, Whooping cough, skin diseases, pleurisy, diaphoretic, diuretic, pulmonary diseases, asthma, diarrhea, stimulant, expectorant, syphilis, inflammation and hay fever.[4]; The Minnesota Chippewa Indians are documented using A. racemosa as medicine;[6] They consume a tea of it for before childbirth[6].. It is said to make labor easier[6].. They also believe that ingesting the root is good for the skin and can soothe swelling, inflammation, and chest pains[6]; and as a detoxifier like Echinacea.[6]

Properties/Medicinal Benefits:Rheumatism, Whooping cough, skin diseases, pleurisy, diaphoretic, diuretic, pulmonary diseases, asthma, rheumatism, diarrhea, stimulant, expectorant, syphilis, Inflamma­tion and Hay fever.[2] Anti-cancer;[3] antioxidant, antidiabetic, and antitubercular.[4] Spikenard oil helps boost the immune system, and calms the body[7] In another study the following properties were noted: antimicrobial, antifungal, hypotensive, antiarrhythmic, and anticonvulsant activity[8]

Works well with: I'm not actually familiar with this herb ( don't use it myself ). I usually put my own observations in the "works well with" section here, but will look up some details from credible authoritative sources and add them here.

Phytochemicals: glyco­sides, tannins, flavonoids, saponins and steroids[2] triterpenoidal saponins, oleanolic acid, sterols i.e., β-sitosterol and Diterpenoids i.e., ent-Kaurenoic acid, continentalic acid.[4] " There are actually hundreds of patents associated to medicinal products that contain plants of genus Aralia"[5] The genus Aralia in general, is loaded in triterpenoid saponins, which have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-hyperlipidemic, hepato-protective and anti-proliferative activities[5] Main components: nardal, jatamansic acid, and nardin[8]

All of these are documented on academic databases like PubChem and Google Scholar. I link to them at the bottom of every page. [ Note this is not all of them that exist within the plant, and I never claim to cover every one of them. I try to get as many as possible listed though. ]

Warnings: Avoid use if pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or breast-feeding.

Germinating Spikenard Seeds/Growing:

Spikenard seeds require something called "cold stratification" in order to germinate. That means that they will only germinate if planted during the right time of year. They require cold periods prior to the temperature rising, in order to germinate. This can be emulated by storing them in the refridgerator or freezer. The best thing is to plant a few 3 times a month until spring. Eventually, they will sprout. You don't even need to water them. The best way to deal with seeds that require cold stratification is to plant persistently, and just wait. Just the fact that they're sitting on top of the soil means they'll germinate, as long as they get that cold period first.

Preparations: After flowering, Spikenard roots are harvested in fall, and are used in foods or for making drinks. The medicinal properties are similar to ginseng and have a root-beer aroma(like Sassafras)[6]

What is phytochemistry: Phytochemistry is one of the many forms of science that confirms intelligent design. It shows that God is the author of medicine, and serpent medical is pushing abominations ( poisonous ones at that ). Romans 1:20-21: "20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." In other words: All the evidence that God is the creator is there (science), so there's no excuse not to believe. Phytochemistry shows us that intelligent design is at play in the natural world. It is a branch of science, and science is not the ultimate understanding of reality.. but rather mans feeble attempt at interpreting an intelligently designed systems blue prints based off experiments and observations of only that which can be measured... Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the lord thy God.. but those things which have been revealed to us, belong to us and our children forever." Science is "the secret things", a.k.a. the knowledge from the tree of knowledge in Genesis.. Hidden knowledge, is science..

Genesis 1:29 "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for nourishment(health; meat; food; wellness; vitality)".

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Ezekiel 47:12 "And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine."

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Academic Sources:

[2] Prasanth, D. S. N. B. K., Atla Srinivasa Rao, and Rajendra Prasad Yejella. "Pharmacognostic and Preliminary Phytochemical Investigation of Leaves of Aralia Racemosa L." Pharmacognosy Journal 8.3 (2016).

[3] DSNBK, Prasanth, A. R. Srinivasa, and R. Y. Prasad. "Anticancer activity of isolated constituents from Aralia racemosa L and Argyreia pilosa wight & arn by sulphorhodamine (SRB) assay on ishikawa and SCC–29B cell Lines." MOJ Bioequiv Availab 5.1 (2018): 1-9.

[4] Prasanth, D. S. N. B. K., Atla Srinivasa Rao, and Rajendra Prasad Yejella. "Assessment of pharmacognostic, phytochemical and physicochemical standards of Aralia racemosa (L.) root." Ind J Pharm Edu Res 50.3 (2016): S225-S30.

[5] Prasanth, D. S. N. B. K., A. Srinivasa Rao, and Y. R. Prasad. "Pharmacognostic standardization of Aralia racemosa L. stem." Indian J Pharm Sci 79.2 (2017): 220-226. APA

[6] Lewis, C. (2021). Aralia racemosa: Lowlight Lush for Every Season.

[7] Axe, Josh, Jordan Rubin, and Ty Bollinger. The Beginner's Guide to Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine. Destiny Image Publishers, 2019.

[8] Gottumukkala VR, Annamalai T, Mukhopadhyay T. Phytochemical investigation and hair growth studies on the rhizomes of Nardostachys jatamansi DC. Pharmacogn Mag. 2011 Apr;7(26):146-50. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.80674. PMID: 21716625; PMCID: PMC3113354.

Via: scholar.google.com

Book sources:

[1] Swerdlow, J. L. (2000). Nature’s medicine: Plants that heal. National Geographic Society. Book Page: 342

Encyclopedia references / sources:


Government sources:


Resources / Links:

PubChem The National Library Of Medicine

Google Scholar scholar.google.com


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Contact: ScottTheWarrior@Juno.com

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