Food-Grade Spikenard Oil
January 18, 2013 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Is spikenard inherently unsafe for human consumption? If not, where can I get some food-grade spikenard oil? If so, what is the closest equivalent spice?
posted by jedicus to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The MSDS says "May be harmful if swallowed."
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:57 AM on January 18, 2013

Spikenard root is what you want for seasoning (actually a rhizome, like ginger) - it's available online. You can probably make your own infusion from that if you want it in oil form.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:56 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I should qualify that I mean Nardostachys jatamansi not Aralia racemosa. The FDA lists "spikenard extract" in EAFUS, but that refers to A. racemosa extract. I'm having trouble finding information on N. jatamansi. There are places selling the root, which is probably the way to go assuming it's food safe in general, but so far I can't tell if it is or not. The Byzantines used it in spiced wine, but people ate lots of crazy stuff a thousand years ago.
posted by jedicus at 2:09 PM on January 18, 2013

Best answer: Here's an MSDS for Nardostachys jatamansi.


Which suggests that the answer is still "No".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:28 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I have an unsubstantiated hunch that it's probably food safe when used in its rhizome form or if a small amount of essential oil is used for flavoring, but that (like most essential oils) it isn't safe to eat the pure stuff. Nonetheless, since the only official-type statement available points away from eating it, I will steer clear.
posted by jedicus at 8:25 AM on January 21, 2013

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