Tag Archives: ancient

SPIKENARD

Spikenard or Narde (Nardostachys jatamansi / N. grandiflora): It belongs to the Valerian family and has similar properties as its cousin Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). A flowering plant that grows to a height of about 1 meter, the rhizomes are distilled to produce the essential oil. It is native to the Himalayas; China, northern India and Nepal, mostly cultivated in Nepal and India. The best quality oil comes from Nepal. Spikenard is a slightly viscous, greenish-brown oil, darkening with age. The scent is deep and fresh, reminiscent of earth after rain, with a hint of fruity overtones.

History: Nard was (and is) used in the Indian tradition of Ayur veda. In ancient Egypt it was a luxury perfume and upon investigating the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1926, small alabaster vessels were found with a solidified, scented unguent (ointment, solid perfume) which turned out to be perfumed with spikenard and frankincense. Spikenard was also one of the ingredients in the ancient Egyptian perfume “Kyphi” that was burned at dusk to make sure the life-giving sun would return the next day. It was an important part of the Hebrew traditions where it was a component of the sacred incense, HaKetoret, wich was burned in the Jewish temple of Jerusalem. Spikenard in Hebrew is Nard and translates as Light. Most people recognize the name due to its mention in the bible (Song of Solomon, Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9). Spikenard was the oil used by Mary Magdalene to anoint the feet of Jesus at the last supper (John 12:1-10). At the time, spikenard was extremely costly and Judas Iscariot was outraged by the fact that it was used, seeing as the amount used was worth about a year’s wages for an ordinary working man. The Greek word for Spikenard means genuine and pure.

With such an illustrious history from ancient times, Spikenard is bound to tickle the imagination. Many believe that its claim to fame is due to the high cost it carried, but spikenard was not the only costly scent at the time; myrrh and  frankincense  were also extremely costly – even more so than gold. On researching the oil I find a red thread which points to the spiritual properties of the scent; Spikenard connects us to the divine.

USES:

  • SKIN: Balancing, regenerating and healing. Mature skin, psoriasis (1% blend), allergies, itching, skin-problems. Healthy skin maintenance.
  • DIGESTIVE SYSTEM: Antispasmodic and digestive: nausea, constipation, colic and cramps.
  • CIRCULATION: Harmonizes & stimulates circulation. Haemorrhoids, varicose veins. Regulates heartbeat.
  • NERVOUS SYSTEM & EMOTIONAL: Balancing, calming, grounding, harmonizing: Insomnia, migraine, stress, nervous tension, insecurity, anxiety. Deep emotional wounds. Can be of use in working through addictions, especially drugs.

Spikenard works on the solar plexus in a deeply calming manner. It is liberating and profoundly soothing. It releases emotional tension and being  at the same time grounding and opening it bring us in touch with our inner spirituality.

Personal: The word that comes to me is surrender. Spikenard brings us to a place of such peace and tranquility, enveloping us in a deep sense of safety. In this place we can allow ourselves to let go of emotional wounds, fears and insecurities. It connects us to the divinity within and lessens the stresses of the outside world. It shows us the way to heal from within. I mainly use this beautiful oil for emotional work. Its wonderful skin-care properties make it easy to incorporate as a releasing agent in the every-day life. Used as a facial oil you have the healing emotional benefits as well as excellent skin-care.

This oil resonates deeply within me. The first time I met Spikenard I was in the midst of a tremendously painful and difficult period of my life. It transported me to a place of such calm serenity, that all the difficulties fell away and I could see – for the first time –  solutions and possibilities. This moment brought me forever out of the worst trauma of my life. Till this day Spikenard is my doorway to assurance, peace and spirituality. It is probably the one oil I would always carry.

Considered a safe oil to use. As it has a ovary-stimulating action, I avoid using it during pregnancy. Spikenard is sometimes used in natural perfumery as a fixative.


Advertisements

A 2,000-year-old cream belonging to an aristocrat discovered

In  1922 Howard Carter discovered the intact tomb of Tutankhamun. The tomb had been sealed approximately 3 200 years earlier. (The reign of Tutankhamon lasted 1333-1324Bc) The tomb was filled with unimaginable treasures and amongst these treasures were clay-pots filled with solidified matter from which a scent could was faintly discernible. On analysis the pots turned out to contain perfumed ointments; myrrh and frankincense mixed in animal and vegetable fat. This story always fascinated me, and now it happened again:

A 2,000-year-old cream belonging to an aristocrat discovered

July 12th, 2009 – 5:56 pm ICT by ANI

Washington, July 12 (ANI): Archaeologists in Italy have discovered a 2,000-year-old cream, left almost intact in the cosmetic case of an aristocratic Etruscan woman.

The lotion, which was discovered four years ago in a necropolis near the Tuscan town of Chiusi, has been revealed now, only after chemical analysis has identified the original compounds of the ancient ointment.

The archaeologists found an intact tomb-dating to the second half of the second century B.C.-sealed by a large terracotta tile.

The site featured a red-purple painted inscription with the name of the deceased: Thana Presnti Plecunia Umranalisa.

And quite near to the tomb, they found a cosmetic case, richly decorated with bone, ivory, tin and bronze elements.

The feet of the box featured bone carved in the shape of Sirens.

The case was filled with precious personal objects- a couple of bronze finger rings, a pair of tweezers, two combs and an alabaster unguentarium vessel – a vase-shaped jar – of Egyptian origins.

“The entire content of the cosmetic case was found under a clay layer which deposited throughout time. This made it possible for the ointment to survive almost intact despite (the fact that) the vessel had no cap,” Discovery News quoted Erika Ribechini, a researcher at the department of chemistry and industrial chemistry of Pisa University, as saying.

The ointment, a solid, homogeneous and pale yellow mass, revealed fatty acids in high abundance.

“This is almost unique in archaeology. Even though more than 2,000 years have passed, the oxidation of the organic material has not yet been completed. This is most likely due to the sealing of the alabaster unguentarium by the clayish earth, which prevented contact with oxygen,” said Ribechini.

The analysis revealed that the contents of the vessel consisted of a mixture of substances of lipids and resins.

“The natural resins were the pine resin, exudated from Pinaceae, and the mastic resin, from Anacardiaceae trees. The lipid was a vegetable oil, most likely moringa oil, which was used by the Egyptians and Greeks to produce ointments and perfumes,” said Ribechini.

Moringa oil was one of the ingredients in a recipe for a perfume for ancient royalty.

Thus, the researchers believe that the lotion was imported.

The discovery has been detailed in the latest issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. (ANI)

More at : A 2,000-year-old cream belonging to an aristocrat discovered http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health/a-2000-year-old-cream-belonging-to-an-aristocrat-discovered_100216985.html#ixzz0gYHGQEH1

ESSENTIAL OIL & SCENT HISTORY part 2

China

Essential oil and scent history is really the history of plants and herbal medicine, since they are a part of it.

All ancient cultures used aromatic substances and herbs for cooking, healing, scenting and praying. The earliest written herbal text is the “Pen Tsao” (Great Herbal – still in print) which was compiled by Shen Nung, an emperor, during the time of 1 000 to 700 B.C. In this work is listed more than 350 medicinal plants and remedies. Another great and ancient work of plants and medicine is the “Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine” also still in print. Acupuncture was already used at this time and has since then spread all over the world, growing in popularity.

Aromatic substances also played an important role in the lives of the Sumerians who lived along the rivers of Eufrat and Tigris ca 4 000 B.C. They left inscriptions showing the use of herbs for healing. The Babylonians and Assyrians left inscriptions of their laws among which there are instructions for the use of plants and spices in medicine. In Persia a clay-vessel was found that is believed to be a crude form of distillation-apparatus. It is dated to 2 500 B.C. Similar vessels are still used in the area for distillation purposes.

In India the medicine of Ayur Veda has existed in written form since 1 000 B.C. Ayur Veda has become an increasingly popular form of alternative medicine and can today be found all over the world.

ayurveda

In ancient Rome and Greece medicine developed into a science. Hippocrates (468-377 B.C), known as the father of medicine compiled scripts known as “Corpus Hippocraticum”. Pedanius Dioscorides wrote the classic “De Materia Medica” in year 60 A.D. This work became the standard basic for medicine during the next 1 500 years. During this time the practice of medicine slowly started to divide into 2 routes;

  • Empirical; Seeing the body and mind as a whole, interacting unit. Knowledge comes from experience and studies.
  • Scientific; Seeing the body as a machine that can be repaired.  Knowledge comes from studying parts in isolation.

Medicine

SCENTED JEWELLERY

Since the earliest times scents have been worn by people. The Egyptians made scented wax-cones that were placed on the head. During the day the wax melted from the heat of sun and body, to imbue the wearer with its scent. During the plague, the “bird-masks” were invented to be worn by doctors as protection against airborne bacteria. In the beak was placed  a material infused in a blend of essential oils that would filter, and kill, bacteria.

Bird-mask ancient doctor

These masks later became the “prototype” for the well-known Venetian carnival-mask. (right)Venetian carnival bird-mask

Through the centuries jewelery has been designed to hold scents in different ways, usually in compartments such as lockers, spheres and other figures.

This beautiful bracelet is made to carry your favorite scent, be it an essential oil, a blend thereof or a perfume.  The scent is infused in material that is put in the locker. Designer Cathy Gins creates these fabulous jewels. You can read her profile and check out her jewelery on this site.

http://aromawear.com/discover.htm

Aromawear

Or this gorgeous necklace…

enchanted-01

Or maybe a card-case…

gold-case-lrg