Jasmine belongs to the olive family, also known as Oleaceae. This shrub and vine genus comprises about 200 species that are indigenous to the warm temperate and tropical regions of Asia, Europe and Africa. Plants belonging to this genus are cultivated extensively for the typical aroma of their flowers.
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Jasmines may be evergreen (having green leaves throughout the year) or deciduous (shedding their leaves in autumn). In addition, plants belonging to this genus may be of various types - erect, climbing shrubs, spreading or even vines. The leaves of these plants appear alternately or opposite to one another on the stem. In addition, the leaves of jasmine may be simple, pinnate or trifoliate. Usually, the flowers of jasmine measure about 2.5 cm (0.98 inch) across and their color may either be white or yellow. Although rare, in some cases jasmine flowers may even be somewhat reddish. The flowers appear in clusters and each cluster contains no less than three blooms. However, on many instances, solitary flowers can also appear at the terminal of the small branches.
Each jasmine flower comprises anything between four and nine petals, one to four ovules and generally two locules. Every flower contains two stamens having very small filaments. The bracts of the flowers are either ovate or linear, while the shape of the calyx is akin to that of a bell. Generally, the calyx is extremely aromatic. Jasmine bears berry-like fruits whose color changes to black when they mature.
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Jasmine flowers and the essential oil obtained from them have numerous uses. While they are frequently used in perfumes and to flavour foods, a tea prepared from the flowers is taken internally for therapeutic purposes.
Traditionally, people have used jasmine flowers in aromatherapy to treat various conditions, including, depression, tension, anxiety, and coughs as well as for relaxation. Initial findings of scientific studies have revealed that jasmine flowers may also be effective in enhancing alertness and improving memory.
In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian herbal medicine system, jasmine has been traditionally used to lessen breast milk secretion. Moreover, initial studies on humans have shown that applying the juice or oil of jasmine flowers to breasts helps to lessen breast engorgement as well as milk secretion. However, further and more in-depth studies are necessary to corroborate these early findings.
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In aromatherapy, jasmine flowers are frequently and extensively used to induce relaxation. Nevertheless, the initial evidence related to jasmine's effectiveness in enhancing attentiveness is assorted.
Findings of initial studies on humans have hinted that consuming a tea prepared from jasmine flowers may not have the desired effects in certain forms of cancer. However, findings of other studies have shown that people who consumed jasmine tea, oolong tea or green tea have found them to be beneficial, especially in diminishing the chances of developing cancer. Further studies are necessary in this regard too.
In addition, aromatherapy has also used jasmine for massage. Findings of studies have shown that it may also be used to alleviate the symptoms related to menopause and regulate blood pressure. However, further studies are necessary in this field too, before arriving at any conclusion.
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Findings of initial studies have shown that consuming jasmine tea may help to diminish the chances of having a stroke. Nevertheless, it has been found that the effect of jasmine tea is less compared to green or black tea. This is an indication that the benefits related to diminished stroke risk may not be associated to jasmine.
The aroma of jasmine is also said to possess tranquilizing attributes.
In China, people often consume jasmine tea, known as the jasmine-flower tea there. People also make use of the flowers of Jasminum sambac, usually prepared with a base of white tea or green tea. However, sometimes it also has an oolong tea base. The tea and jasmine flowers are mated in machines, which can regulate the temperature as well as humidity. On average, it takes about four hours for the tea to take up the flavour and fragrance of the jasmine flowers. In order to obtain the best quality teas, it may be necessary to repeat the process several times - maximum seven times. It is also necessary to 'refire' or process the tea in order to prevent it from decomposing. Once the process is complete, you may or may not get rid of the used up flowers from the end product, as they have become completely dehydrated and fragrance-less by then. The tea is denser compared to the flower petals and you require giant fans to blow away the petals if you wish to remove them from the final product.
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Jasmines are indigenous to places having tropical as well as temperate climatic conditions and have their origin in Asia, Australasia and Africa. As of now, 200 different species of this genus have been identified. Some jasmine species are also found in South and Southeast Asia.
Despite the fact that this genus is not indigenous to Europe, several species of jasmines have been naturalized in the continent, especially in the Mediterranean region. For instance, the species called Catalonian jasmine or Spanish jasmine (botanical name Jasminum grandiflorum) was originally brought from Iran and some regions in the west of South Asia. However, now this species has become naturalized in the Iberian Peninsula.
It is also possible to grow jasmines in containers. Jasmines grown in full sunlight bloom abundantly and produce the best flowers. However, plants belonging to this species also have the aptitude to endure partial shade for some hours every day. It is advisable that you should move the jasmine plants growing in pots when the temperature soars on hot summer days. Doing this will save the plants' leaves as well as flower buds from the scorching heat. When you are growing jasmines indoors, you should ensure that the pots are positioned in a sun-lit place or in the south or west facing part of your room beside a window. They grow best when placed in such positions.
Jasmines have the ability to grow in all soils, provided they are well drained. These plants cannot endure soil that is constantly damp or soggy. When grown in such soils, the plants can develop fungal diseases resulting to root decay. However, jasmines have a preference for watering at regular intervals during the flowering season. When the flowering season is over, the plants can be rested.
Therapeutic formulations prepared from jasmine flowers do not have any specific standard dosage. Hence, the dosage mentioned below will not be applicable for all jasmine products. Therefore, before commencing therapy with these products, it is essential that you go through the product labels thoroughly and also consult a qualified healthcare professional to ascertain the appropriate dosage.
Jasmine is usually taken orally in the form of a tea along with the plant's flowers. These are boiled or immersed in water or used to prepare a tincture. On the other hand, jasmine essential oils can be blended with shea butter for external application on the skin. In addition, the essential oils obtained from jasmine are also used in aromatherapy.
In order to enhance your alertness or attentiveness, mix one ml of 20% jasmine oil solution in sweet almond oil and apply the blend to the stomach for about five minutes. Subsequently, cover the area with a plastic film. For reducing breast milk secretion, apply 50 cm of stringed jasmine flowers to both the breasts every day for five consecutive days.
People have been wearing a surgical face mask preparation using jasmine to improve alertness. There are a number of such surgical masks. You may either use masks layered with jasmine absolute ether in measures of 100 microliters; wear surgical masks swathed with jasmine absolute ether in measures of anything between 20 microliters and 50 microliters for about 30 minutes; or surgical facial masks packed with the aroma of jasmine.
Similarly, you should use a jasmine-scented incense stick to fill your room with its aroma and inhale the scent to enhance memory.
For treating children, there is no jasmine dosage that has been verified to be safe as well as effective.
In case you are suffering from any health problem or are using any drug, herbal product or supplement, it is necessary that you consult a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any new therapy. Moreover, you should also check with a healthcare professional right away if you experience any adverse effect after using jasmine products.
It is advisable that people who are sensitive to jasmine or have allergic reactions when they use this herb, experience side effects from using any plant belonging to the Oleaceae family; are allergic or sensitive to the fragrance of jasmine flowers or any other fragrance, for instance lemongrass, ylang-ylang, sandalwood and narcissus, should always keep away from using them. There have been instances of people exposed to jasmine flowers or the essential oils obtained from it suffering from side effects like itchy rashes and skin allergies on the scalp as well as the hands.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the use of jasmine for therapeutic purposes is safe, especially when it is used in amounts approved for foods. Even the use of jasmine essential oils is considered to be safe, provided it is diluted appropriately using any suitable carrier oil and applied directly to the skin.
However, it is important to exercise utmost caution while using jasmine products, especially when using by pregnant women. It should also be used in small quantities, as there is not data available regarding the safe use of this herb. Even nursing mothers should use this herb very cautiously, because when jasmine flowers are applied to the breasts, they work to diminish breast milk production.
Use of jasmine flowers may also have an effect on the blood pressure. Therefore, it is advisable that people suffering from blood pressure related problems or those taking drugs, herbal preparations and/ or supplements which have an effect on the blood pressure should use jasmine with extreme caution.
Moreover, people whose heartbeat is irregular or who are suffering from health conditions that bring down the heart rate should also exercise caution while using jasmine or products containing this herb. You should know that jasmine possesses the aptitude to bring about changes in the width of the blood vessels as well as the heart rate.
People taking diuretics (medicines that increase urine flow) should also be careful while using jasmine, as this herb may also have similar actions.
As jasmine has a sedative action, its use may result in drowsiness or stupor, hence it is advisable that you should not undertake any task that requires alertness, such as driving a vehicle or operating any machine. Also do not use any other sedative or tranquilizer when you are using jasmine.
Never use any essential oils, including jasmine essential oil, orally. It has been found that they may be poisonous when taken internally.