Jasmine has derived its name from the Old French word Jasmine that is again derived from the Persian word 'yasmin' literally meaning "gift from God". This plant belongs to the genus of shrubs and vines belonging to the olive family (Oleaceae). This genus comprises approximately 200 species that are native to tropical as well as warm temperate regions of the world. Most species of this genus grow as climbers on other plants or are put on chicken wire, trellis gates or fences in the gardens. At times, plants of this species are also made to climb through shrubs. The jasmine leaves may be of evergreen or deciduous nature. Jasmine plants are grown extensively for their aromatic flowers. The flowers are delicate and open only during the evening and are picked in the morning when the tiny petals are closed tightly. The jasmine petals usually remain open between six and eight during evenings when the temperature comes down.
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Jasmine plants are vine-like and often climb up to a height of 12 feet or 3.6 meters and its flowers exude a divine aroma that conveys their presence to everyone who is nearby. The highly sweet fragrant blossoms of the species have been highly valued by various cultures across the globe for several centuries. In fact, it is said that the ancient Egyptian queen was so enticed by the scent of jasmine that she used it regularly on her hair. In Indonesia, a species of jasmine - Jasminum sambac - is the national flower, which is also widely used by the locals in wedding ceremonies. Similarly, Pakistan's national flower is Jasmine officinale. Jasmine flowers are also used in religious ceremonies in the Philippines, people use garlands made of jasmine (locally called 'sampaguita') to adorn images of Gods and Goddesses. It is also regarded as a scared flower by the Hindus, who offer Hemapushpika (Jasmine humile) to Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha.
The plant produces small deep green leaves that grow opposite to each other and comprise seven leaflets. Jasmine blooms are small, but extremely aromatic. They usually blossom during the period between early summer and early autumn filling the atmosphere with their aromatic scent. Apart from the different uses of jasmine mentioned above, this aromatic flower also possesses therapeutic properties and, hence, the essential oil is extracted from it is widely used in aromatherapy. Jasmine essential oil is obtained from Jasminum Grandiflorum (synonym officinale). This species is also known by other names - Jasmin, common Jasmine and Jessamine.
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The profound, sweet and flowery aroma of jasmine essential oil is attributed to the white flowers having the appearance of a star that grow robustly. Jasmine essential oil is very expensive and this can be gauged from the fact that as many as 8,000 flowers yield just one gram of the oil. Normally, the flowers are picked in early morning, but if they are plucked during the night, they possess more potent aroma. Jasmine essential oil is obtained by steam distilling the flowers that are required in massive amounts just to produce one ounce of this valuable oil.
In fact, jasmine essential oil is said to be among the most expensive essential oils available anywhere. The numerous benefits offered by jasmine essential oil helps it to earn a place among the 'should haves'. This essential oil is unusual, has an aesthetic effect, can easily combine with any other essential oil, is effectual for treating conditions like depressions, and also possesses aphrodisiac, sedative as well as antiseptic properties. Using only a few drops of this favourite oil has the aptitude to perform wonders when it is blended with any other essential oil.
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The therapeutic properties possessed by jasmine essential oil make it an excellent remedy for skin care, particularly for dehydrated, irritated or susceptible skin. In addition, external application of jasmine essential oil also helps in alleviating coughs, muscular spasms, hoarseness, stress or tension-related conditions and uterine problems. This oil also has various industrial uses and is extensively used in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and toiletries.
As aforementioned, besides possessing a potent, sweet, floral aroma, jasmine essential oil also has several therapeutic properties and is widely used as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and sedative agent. Jasmine essential oil can be easily blended with any other essential oil, including geranium essential oil, lemon balm essential oil, frankincense essential oil, bergamot essential oil, sandalwood essential oil, clary sage essential oil and rosewood essential oil. When jasmine essential oil is blended with any of the above mentioned essential oils it offers several different ways to encourage the natural manner of healing by the body.
Since very high quality petals of the flower are required to prepare jasmine essential oil, this oil is rare to be found and always in high demand. In fact, during ancient times, the essential oil extracted from the aromatic jasmine flowers was valued highly. This was primarily owing to the fact that people considered this oil to possess aphrodisiac properties or the attribute to stimulate sexual craving. People of various cultures used jasmine essential oil in various ceremonies owing to this particular attribute of the oil. While people in China used jasmine essential oil in the hospitals and sick rooms with a view to clear the air of pollutants and make the atmosphere fragrant, the ancient Egyptians used this oil to provide relief from problems related to the nerves, headaches and also insomnia. Even to this day, the Chinese value the therapeutic properties of the herb and regularly drink an herbal tea prepared from jasmine flowers. In Indonesia, people use the aromatic jasmine flowers to add essence to their food.
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The aroma of jasmine is potently sweet and floral and, hence, it is a favourite with almost everyone. The fragrance of this flower as well as the essential oil extracted from it is profound, charming, flowery and very rich. Similar to rose, genuine jasmine cannot be compared with any of the artificial fragrances that are found in abundance on the shelves of shops.
Although jasmine essential oil possesses numerous therapeutic properties, it is more popular for its aphrodisiac attributes. While not much scientific evidence is there to validate this attribute of jasmine essential oil, this does not prevent people in many parts of the world from using the oil to stimulate sexual activities as well as believe that it promotes fertility. For instance, people in Thailand sprinkle the flowers on the bed of the newly married, while aromatherapists even in the United States prescribe jasmine essential oil for treating a number of sexual disorders, including inhibition.
For several years now, jasmine essential oil has been regarded as effectual natural oil especially meant for women. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) as well as the ancient Indian medical practice known as Ayurveda, this oil is used extensively for various purposes. Since jasmine essential oil is known to be effective in balancing the hormones in one's system, it can be used as massage oil. Especially, massaging jasmine essential oil on the abdomen during childbirth helps to ease the pains related to labor.
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Besides the properties discussed above, jasmine essential oil is also considered to be a natural antidepressant. Aroma- therapists are of the view that this oil is especially useful for people enduring symptoms of lethargy and exhaustion. They are of the opinion that jasmine essential oil functions partially to reduce apprehension and also open up new emotional pathways.
Among the various essential oils, jasmine essential oil is one of the best natural oils that is very subtle, rich and having a beautiful flowery fragrance. These attributes of the oil make it an important and precious element for several cosmetic products. In fact, jasmine essential oil is among the oldest known natural oils that have widespread use in botanical fragrances. During the Middle Ages, this aromatic flower was primarily cultivated in China, northern regions of India and also in North Africa. Jasmine essential oil was first introduced in Europe during the 17th century.
As mentioned earlier, the word 'Jasmine' has its origin in Persian language. Even people in ancient Asia used the branches of jasmine plants bearing beautiful white flowers during their several rituals and ceremonies. In the early days, jasmine blossoms were used in China, Egypt, Morocco and the Osman Empire to prepare aromatic tea, while the jasmine essential oil was basically cherished for its outstanding aphrodisiac attributes. In addition, jasmine essential oil is particularly useful for women since it provides relief from menstrual pains and cramps as well as helps to maintain the hormonal balance.
It may be mentioned here that jasmine essential oil is known to offer several emotional and physical benefits. In aromatherapy, jasmine essential oil is said to be a potent tranquilizer as well as a relaxant that induces warmth and promotes sound sleep. This oil is especially useful for those suffering from nervous anxiety, depression and insomnia. Jasmine essential oil is among the most common natural oils that are used for meditation. This oil not only encourages the feeling of harmony and hopefulness, but its use also brings about joy, contentment, cheerfulness and other similar feelings. Jasmine essential oil also possesses inspiring as well as antidepressant properties and is, therefore, very helpful for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, low spirit, mood swings or changing moods and similar conditions.
Jasmine essential oil is regarded as base natural oil that combines easily and extremely well with other essential oils. In fact, the aptitude of jasmine essential oil to support any synergistic combination makes it extremely rare as well as unique in aromatherapy. In fact, jasmine essential oil especially blends well with sandalwood essential oil, sweet orange essential oil and vetiver essential oil.
In the present day aromatherapy, jasmine essential oil is highly expensive, but it is worth the money spent for skin care. When applied on the skin, jasmine essential oil stimulates cellular growth as well as enhances the elasticity or suppleness of the skin. Herbalists frequently prescribe jasmine essential oil for treating minor to moderate burns cases. In addition, massaging jasmine essential oil also alleviates sprains and muscle spasms.
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Notwithstanding its therapeutic properties, one must always remember that the essential oil extracted from jasmine flowers should never be used internally or consumed. In addition, pregnant women should not use it in the initial four months of pregnancy. However, massaging this oil during childbirth helps to ease pains during labor.