[Sca-cooks] Spikenard

galefridus at optimum.net galefridus at optimum.net
Mon Jan 14 14:08:51 PST 2013

Yeah, when I first started hunting for true spikenard, I found that almost all the suppliers were selling Aralia racemosa. It's a New World herb, and as you say, totally unrelated to Nardostachys. But true spikenard is readily available from herbal suppliers who specialize in Ayurvedic medicine.

In a previous message, you mentioned that a Pennsic merchant was selling valerian as spikenard. I'm pretty sure that the merchant from whom I bought my current stash was selling the real thing. As I stated previously, I've compared spikenard and valerian by smell, and while similar, they are distinct.

You mention the oil being available from Lhasa Karnak -- a few years ago (PW 38, I think), someone teaching a class on foods from al-Warraq stated that he had used the oil rather than the herb. He had a bunch of sample foods, and he identified the one (a sweet, if I recall correctly) that had the oil in it, with a warning that some considered it dangerous. Most folks in the class ignored the warning and tasted it anyway.

-- Galefridus

> Message: 7
> Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 13:16:29 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
> From: lilinah at earthlink.net
> To: SCA-Cooks 
> Subject: [Sca-cooks] Spikenard
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> Well, i just gave a phone call to Lhasa Karnak, an herb and 
> spice store in Berkeley, California, in business over 30 years. 
> I asked what they have been selling as Spikenard herb. I 
> recognized the voice, i was speaking to the owner. He told me 
> they sell Auralia Racemosa, which is commonly known as American 
> Spikenard.
> This is not in the valerian family. But as i said, other herb 
> vendors may sell something different...
> He said that they do sell real Spikenard oil, from Nardostachys 
> jatamansi. I said i'd hesitate to put that in food and he concurred.
> Someone known as Urtatim

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