Aromatherapy in John 12 v 1-11

It was my turn to read the scripture passage at church today. It was the passage from John 12 v 1-11, Jesus anointed at Bethany. It is 6 days before the Passover meal, or The Last Supper, and the time in the run-up to the trial, judgement and subsequent crucifiction of Jesus. The passage talks about a “pint of pure nard” or “the expensive perfume” that was worth the same as a years wage to the average farm worker. Much is made of the cost of this expensive item, but little is given to why Mary chose this oil at this time.

So let’Spikenards look a bit closer into Nard. Nard is the shortened version of Spikenard, which is an essential oil derived from the flowering plant Nardostachys jatamansi, part of the Valerian family. It grows in the Himalayan region of China, India and Nepal.

It was a common flavouring used in the ancient Roman Empire In ancient times, this oil was  used in perfume, as a medicine, as well as in religious ceremonies. It was a very precious oil in ancient times, being used by Kings, High Priests and High Initiates in Egyptian, Hindu and Hebrew civilisations

The properties that are attributed to this oil include Strengthening, Calmative, Sedative amongst others. It seems fitting then that Mary chose this oil to use at this time.

Today it is still used in meditation, as it is said to bring inner calm and relaxation. Spikenard is also useful in helping to reduce tension and can aid sleep, in cases of insomnia.

It is for these reasons that I believe that Mary chose to use Nard at this time. Jesus knew what was about to befall him. He knew all the events that were about to play out, for the prophecy of the Old Testament to come to pass. In his situation, wouldn’t you want to have an oil that would give you an inner calm?

It is associated with the Crown Chakra, the 7th chakra, which is linked to our sense of enlightenment and consciosness. It is through the 7th chakra that we can reach higher levels of awareness and connect with higher energies. For Jesus, this meant a higher connection with His Father God.

When our crown chakra is in balance we achieve higher acceptance of ourselves. How fitting was that to Jesus, to accept what was to come? Ego has no place with Spikenard. We feel a higher purpose in life, with more Joy.


Spikenard is not your average essential oil. It certainly wasn’t even mentioned in my aromatherapy course way back in 1993. I have however purchased some in the past year, so I can tell you first hand what it smells like.

It is a musky smell, not too dis-similar to patchouli. It is a base note, hardly surprising given it’s sedative and calming effect. It is not a cheap oil, coming in at around £12/10 ml.

If you have any experience of Spikenard essential oil, please share your experiences in the comments. I look forward to hearing of people’s experiences. Blessings Joy



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