Benefits Of American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) For Health

Benefits Of American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) For Health


American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa)


American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) is known as other name: Anis Sauvage, Aralia à Grappes, American Sarsaparilla, Aralia racemosa, Aralie Épineuse, Aralie à Grappes, Espinardo Americano, Grande Salsepareille, Indian Spikenard, Indian Root, Life-of-Man, American Spikenard, Life of Man, Old Man's Root, Spignet, Pettymorell, Salsepareille d’Amérique, Spignet, Small Spikenard...

American spikenard (botanical name, Aralia racemosa) is a perennially growing bush which generally grows up to a height of 10 feet. The leaves of this plant are large, while it produces petite greenish white flowers. The fruit or berries of American spikenard are red or purple in color. As is evident from the plant's name, it is native to North America.

Benefits Of American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) For Health
American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) Picture

American spikenard was a very well accepted herb among the various Native American tribes. They gathered the pleasingly fragrant roots of the herb for an assortment of therapeutic purposes. Several herbalists have documented that the members of the Cherokees, a native Indian tribe in south eastern United States, drank an herbal tea prepared with American spikenard to treat headaches, while those belonging to the Shawnees tribe employed the herb to cure coughs, chest pains, asthma as well as pains resulting from stomach gas. Members of other American tribes administered American spikenard tea to their womenfolk during labor with a view to facilitate as well as have a less painful childbirth. On the other hand, the Micmacs are known to prepare a balm with American spikenard and applied it topically to heal wounds and cuts. Members of another North American tribe, Ojibwas, employed the root of American spikenard in the form of poultice to heal fractured bones.

Early European settlers in North America included American spikenard to their individual herbal medicine shelf and discovered further uses of this herb. They found that the juice of the purple berries of the herb as well as the oil extracted from its seeds could cure deafness and earache when poured into the ears. In the 19th century, practitioners of herbal medicine prescribed the root of American spikenard for treating rheumatism, gout, syphilis as well as ailments wherein it was considered to be essential to cleanse or sanitize the blood.


Benefits Of American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) For Health


Currently the herb is used for treating coughs and skin complaints on the basis of conventional applications. Various Native American tribes employed American spikenard as well as associated species to treat assortment medical conditions, counting in the form of an herbal tea for backaches.

A decoction prepared with the herb's roots and bark was given to women enduring menstrual disorders or prolapsed uteruses. During the colonial era, both men and women used American spikenard to treat medical conditions that were known as humours in the blood. In addition, they also used American spikenard to treat respiratory as well as pulmonary infections, for instance coughs and tuberculosis. Poultices prepared with American spikenard were applied topically to heal wounds, burn injuries and swellings. It may be noted that this species encloses a volatile oil, diterpene acids and tannins.

It has been established that use of American spikenard promotes perspiration, is invigorating and also detoxifying and, hence, it is used internally to treat asthma, pulmonary ailments, respiratory infections, rheumatism and others.

The North American Indians used this herb for a wide variety of traditional purposes and there was a time when American spikenard was used as a replacement for sarsaparilla, a closely related tropical herb. The root of American spikenard possesses diaphoretic (a medicine or substance that promotes sweating), alterative, diuretic, pectoral (a protective medication for the breast) and stimulant attributes.

Benefits Of American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) For Health
American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) Picture

American spikenard possesses depurative (purifying), antiseptic and diaphoretic (inducing sweating) attributes and is effective in treating rheumatism, gout and added inflammatory conditions. In addition, the herb is also employed in treating medical conditions, such as lung complaints, coughs and colds. Similar to sarsaparilla, the root tea prepared with the roots of American spikenard is a traditional folk medication used to treat backaches as well as in the form of a purifying spring tonic.

Externally, the herb is employed in the form of a poultice to treat skin complaints like eczema. The aromatic root of the herb is gathered during the later part of summer and in autumn, dried and stored for future use. A drink prepared with the macerated spikenard root is employed as a remedy for cough. On the other hand, a poultice made with the herb's root and/ or fruits is applied topically to ulcers, prickly skin and sores.

In addition, American spikenard has also been sued to cure syphilis, rheumatism and shortness of breath since long. As mentioned earlier, this herb is said to be an alternative and possesses antimicrobial properties and activities. It may also work as an expectorant (a medication that helps in discharging phlegm) in the upper respiratory coughs attributed to asthmatic conditions. Therapeutically, the roots of American spikenard have been employed in the form of poultice to heal fractured or broken bones as well as deep bruising.

In addition to its therapeutic uses, various parts of American spikenard are also consumed in different forms. The indigenous American Indians consumed the scented roots of the plant as well as the young leaves in their soups and other delicacies. Closely related to ginseng, wild sarsaparilla as well as additional species of spikenard were employed to season tea as well as root beer. One other plant known as spikenard and associated with valerian has been found in several perfumes of the ancient period.

American Spikenard (Aralia Racemosa) Side effects and cautions


It’s unsafe to use American spikenard if you are pregnant. It’s also best to avoid using it if you are breast-feeding, since there isn’t enough information to know whether or not it is safe for a nursing infant.

If applied directly to the skin, it might be irritating.