Thanks for the interesting question.
Mark 14:3 (New International Version)
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man
known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very
expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the
perfume on his head.
Nard (Nardostachys jatamansi) is a herb from which an essential oil
was extracted in biblical times to be used in the production of
Bible Fragrances: Nard
Quote: "Also improperly known as spikenard (from Latin spica, head of
grain, and nardi), this hardy herb, a member of the Valerianaceae
family, grows in the foothills of the Himalayas. The part of the plant
growing underground has the appearance of a fibrous spindle, and is
rich in the precious essential oil."
Read the above page for more detail on nard's production, history and uses.
Nard also appears in the gospel of John.
John 12:3 (New International Version)
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she
poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the
house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Further information about nard can be found at:
Jatamansi Oil (Spikenard Oil)
Search Strategy (on Google):
* Nardostachys jatamansi
I hope this helps.
Clarification of Answer by
20 Mar 2006 08:41 PST
In response to your request for clarification, nard was very valuable
at the time of Jesus. While it is hard to find an *exact* measure of
it's value, the following websites offer relative values...
Welcome To Bible Frangrances
Quote: "Horace offered to send Virgil a whole barrel of his best wine
in exchange for a phial of nard."
Bible Query from Song of Solomon
Quote: "Spikenard and nard were types of perfume. Nard (or spikenard)
was very costly, as the woman who anointed Jesus with nard had a jar
that cost a year?s wages in Mark 14:3-5."
Quote: "spikenard (sp?k'närd) , name for several plants. The biblical
spikenard, or nard, was a costly aromatic ointment, preserved in
alabaster boxes, whose chief ingredient is believed to have been
derived from Nardostachys grandiflora (or N. jatamansi), a plant of
the family Valerianaceae (valerian family)."
Spices and Perfumes
Quote: "Also known as spikenard, this plant grows in the Himalayan
countries of Bhutan, Nepal, and Kashmir. The fragrant root and lower
stems were dried and used in a perfumed ointment. Since perfume made
from the nard plant had to be imported to the Near East from India, it
Hope this helps.