Spikenard, Americanotanical: Aralia racemosa (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Araliaceae
Synonyms: Spignet. Life of Man. Pettymorell. Old Man's Root. Indian Spikenard. Indian Root.
Part Used: Root.
Habitat: North America, New Zealand, Japan.
Description: The much-branched stem grows from 3 to 6 feet high. Very large leaves, consisting of thin oval heart-shaped, double saw-toothed leaflets. Small greenish flowers in many clusters - blooming later than Aralia medicaulis (for which it is often substituted), July to August. Has roundish red-brown berries going dark purple. Root-stock thick and large, spicy and aromatic. Fracture of cortex short, of the wood also short and fibrous. Odour aromatic, taste mucilaginous, pungent and slightly acrid. Transverse section of root shows thick bark, several zones containing oil. The plant grows freely in the author's garden.
Constituents: Volatile oil, resin, tannin, etc.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Stimulant, diaphoretic, alterative for syphilitic, cutaneous and rheumatic cases, and used in same manner and dosage as genuine Sarsaparilla. Much used also for pulmonary affections, and enters into the compound syrup of Spikenard. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion of 1/2 OZ. to a pint of water in wineglassful doses.