A soft, unctuous substance, which readily melts when applied to the skin. Among the Orientals of Bible times much use was made of sweet smelling unguents, among which spikenard was the most famous. It is now generally believed to be the Nardostachys jatamansi, closely allied to valerian. It seems quite certain that this is the nard seed by Mary of Bethany to anoint Our Lord (Matthew 6; Mark 14; John 12). The Apostles estimate the value of the pound of nard to be 300 denarii. Ointments were used commonly in religious rites and in the burial of the dead.

Associated in Art with

MLA Citation

  • “ointment”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 November 2008. Web. 4 March 2021. <>