Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ooooo Spikenard

This is spikenard. It was spotted by my trail guides when I went on the canyon hike at Camp Sagawau, to which they became very excited. When your trail guide gets real excited, you get real excited, even though you have no clue why you're getting excited. That's what happened here. I took this picture because I heard the words, "On the rare scale, this one is a 10." Oooooo a "10".

Look at how it is growing, in between some sediment of limestone! What a challenge! I love it's autumnal color.

Let's Learn About American Spikenard:

A perennial herb with large spicy smelling roots
Part of the Ginseng family
Prefers cool shady forests
Sensitive to frost
In Chicagoland area rare, but can grow anywhere from Canada to Georgia
Roots harvested in autumn for medicinal and commercial purposes:
Medical - used to treat asthma, rheumatism, eczema, also a cough syrup
Commercial - made into oils, incense, and perfume (I love perfume!)

Spikenard has been used to calm nerves and even treat hysteria!

Some of you may be saying, "Where have I heard of Spikenard before?" Hint: Think biblical times.
Mary Magdalen used spikenard perfume to anoint the feet of Jesus and she did it with her hair!

I'm so fortunate to have been with knowledgeable trail guides who knew how to spot this beautiful spikenard, because they studied their plants, we are able to enjoy it's story today. I think I'll stop at the health food/nutrition store and see if they have any of this oil or herbs!