Common Jasmine, Poet's Jasmine, White Jasmine
Jasmine is believed to have originated in the Himalayas of western China, a country where this delicate, fragrant flower is known as the “Queen of the Flowers”. It is mainly the flowers that have been used for time immemorial for their healing and uplifting properties – Jasmine essential oil has been used in many parts of Asia as a natural remedy for depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia for thousands of years.
The delicate aromatic tea made from Jasmine flowers became hugely popular in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD), with the most famous and traditionally scented Jasmine tea coming out of the Fujian region. The tea was drunk not only for its wonderful taste, but also for the many benefits to overall health and wellbeing it imparted.
Jasmine is rich in antioxidants that interact with gastrointestinal enzymes to facilitate better nutrient absorption and promote healthy bowel function. It also functions to promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut and has been found to eliminate harmful bacteria.
The antispasmodic qualities of Jasmine make it helpful to relieve indigestion, stomach cramps and soothe inflammation.
A recent study found that Jasmine flower extract was effective at inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus. These pathogenic bacteria are responsible for many gastrointestinal disorders, commonly known as “tummy bugs”, and can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The results showed that the Jasmine extracts with a concentration of 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% had an effect to inhibit of the growth of the bacteria.
The uplifting scent of Jasmine essential oil has been proven to improve mood, de-stress and bring anxiety down to a more manageable level. A study published in the “Journal of Health Research” looked at the effect of Jasmine oil inhalation on the central nervous system and the mood. They found that the oil did indeed affect the mood and brain activity, with participants reporting that they felt more positive, energetic and even romantic.
Another study found that Jasmine essential oil, when used in aromatherapy massage, increased behaviour arousal when compared with a placebo. They found that it significantly increases breathing rate, blood oxygen saturation and blood pressure, leading to the participants in the Jasmine group feeling more alert. The researchers concluded that this stimulating effect could help to alleviate depression and anxiety whilst uplifting the mood.
Conversely, Jasmine (consumed as a tea or used in essential oil form) has sedative effects on the nervous system, soothing and relaxing tense and jangled nerves. Like many herbs, it appears to have adaptogenic qualities that can either up-regulate or down-regulate the nervous system as required. The sedative compounds found in this herb have been found to promote peaceful sleep, help to induce sleep in insomniacs and regulate erratic or irregular sleep patterns.
A study published in the "European Journal of Applied Physiology" found that just the smell of Jasmine has sedative effects on both autonomic nerve activity and mood states. The researchers found that inhaling Jasmine (along with lavender) helped to reduce the heart rate and bring on feelings of calm and relaxation, helping the participants to drift off to sleep more easily.
Jasmine has long been known as an aphrodisiac and libido enhancer by ancient herbalists for as long as this flower has been utilised as a herbal remedy. Its exotic, heady scent not only lifts the spirits, it helps to dissolve emotional barriers and promote feelings of intimacy. Its anti-depressant qualities combined with its ability to relax the body make Jasmine an excellent oil to use to overcome sexual problems which are in the head, rather than direct physiological problems of the reproductive system.
Jasmine essential oil has a long history of use for gently nurturing women through each stage of their reproductive lives. With natural hormone balancing properties, it has been shown to improve symptoms of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), menopause, and act as an “emmenagogue” (a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow). The emmenagogue property of Jasmine oil regulates menstrual cycles and provides relief from painful periods.
This gentle essential oil can also help to ease childbirth (although it is NOT recommended for use in pregnancy as it can stimulate contractions). It has been found to strengthen contractions and lessen the time it takes to deliver a baby. Women who use Jasmine essential oil post-natally have experienced faster recovery times and a shorter post-natal period. Furthermore, the antidepressant qualities of this oil can be helpful in combating post-natal depression.
Jasmine Flowers Herbal Tea
Pour boiling water over 1 teaspoon of flowers per person. Jasmine flowers can be mixed with Green tea, use ½ teaspoon of Green tea and ½ teaspoon of Jasmine tea into a pot for each person. Steep for 5 - 10 minutes.
Jasmine Essential Oil
Jasmine essential oil can be used in the bath, or vaporized in an oil burner. It can be added to a massage oil or cream. Already diluted in Sweet Almond Oil, use 6-8 drops per bath.
The name Jasmine derives from the Persian word Yasmin, meaning "Gift from God", with its flower held highly sacred in India and the Himalayas. In India Jasmine is considered the essence of mystery and magic, Indian women use it to scent their hair and call it “moonlight of the grove.” Jasmine is the national flower of Pakistan and the sacred flower of Kama, the God of Love. On the day before a wedding, the bride to be wears a garland of jasmine and roses around her neck as sensual symbol of her purity and passion.
In the symbolism of flowers Jasmine represents purity, simplicity, modesty and strength. The plant is also the national flower of the Philippines and has an international reputation with many nicknames such as Maid of Orleans, Belle of India, and Duce di Toscane. The intoxicating scent of the flowers is most powerful in the evening and is said to be even stronger during a waning moon.
Jasmine flowers contain alpha terpineol, benzaldehyde, benzyl acetate, benzyn acid, benzyl alcohil, eugenol, farnesol, gernaiol, jasmone, nerolidol, linalyl acetate, salicylic acid, and vanillin.
Not recommended during pregnancy as it can stimulate uterine contractions.