The spikenard is a plant mentioned since early antiquity, mostly known for its intense and pungent aroma that made it a precious ingredient of many cosmetic recipes for luxury perfumes. The nature of the spikenard has been controversial since the ancient era and, still today, there is the need for a correct attribution of such a name to a currently accepted botanical species. Thanks to a specimen from the Este Herbarium (Erbario Estense), preserved in the Modena State Archives (Italy), we tried to bring our contribution to the debate concerning this topic. We checked all the Italian ancient herbaria in search of samples of spikenard, analysed past literary and medical–pharmaceutical sources from classical antiquity to the XIX century, and searched former and present ethno-botanical uses. Our investigation allowed us to ascertain that the spikenard samples preserved in the Renaissance Italian herbaria belong to Nardostachys jatamansi (D. Don) DC., a herbaceous species belonging to the Valerianaceae, native to alpine regions of the north-western Himalaya, still used in Ayurveda medicine and as a component of cosmetic products.

“Spigo nardo”: from the Erbario Estense a possible solution for its taxonomical attribution / Vicentini, Chiara Beatrice; Buldrini, Fabrizio; Bosi, Giovanna; Romagnoli, Carlo. - In: RENDICONTI LINCEI. SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI. - ISSN 2037-4631. - 29:4(2018), pp. 909-921. [10.1007/s12210-018-0739-y]

“Spigo nardo”: from the Erbario Estense a possible solution for its taxonomical attribution

Buldrini, Fabrizio
;
Bosi, Giovanna;Romagnoli, Carlo
2018

Abstract

The spikenard is a plant mentioned since early antiquity, mostly known for its intense and pungent aroma that made it a precious ingredient of many cosmetic recipes for luxury perfumes. The nature of the spikenard has been controversial since the ancient era and, still today, there is the need for a correct attribution of such a name to a currently accepted botanical species. Thanks to a specimen from the Este Herbarium (Erbario Estense), preserved in the Modena State Archives (Italy), we tried to bring our contribution to the debate concerning this topic. We checked all the Italian ancient herbaria in search of samples of spikenard, analysed past literary and medical–pharmaceutical sources from classical antiquity to the XIX century, and searched former and present ethno-botanical uses. Our investigation allowed us to ascertain that the spikenard samples preserved in the Renaissance Italian herbaria belong to Nardostachys jatamansi (D. Don) DC., a herbaceous species belonging to the Valerianaceae, native to alpine regions of the north-western Himalaya, still used in Ayurveda medicine and as a component of cosmetic products.
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“Spigo nardo”: from the Erbario Estense a possible solution for its taxonomical attribution / Vicentini, Chiara Beatrice; Buldrini, Fabrizio; Bosi, Giovanna; Romagnoli, Carlo. - In: RENDICONTI LINCEI. SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI. - ISSN 2037-4631. - 29:4(2018), pp. 909-921. [10.1007/s12210-018-0739-y]
Vicentini, Chiara Beatrice; Buldrini, Fabrizio; Bosi, Giovanna; Romagnoli, Carlo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11380/1172313
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