Family Oleaceae (Jasmininaceae)
ORIGIN OF THE NAME
The common name of the plant is an adaption of the Old Persian word for the flower and was used as a traditional girl’s name Yasmin. There are numerous varieties including Royal / Spanish / Italian / Catalonian Jasmine (Jasmine grandiflorum). The Arabian Jasmine (Jasmine sambac) and Indian Jasmine (Jasmine auriculatum). The Persians used jasmine oil to perfume the air at their banquets. Jasmine, rose and hyacinth appear frequently in Sufi poetry as a symbol of love and spiritual longing. Feminine deities such as Quan Yin and the Virgin Mary have also been associated with the jasmine flower. Used frequently in the East both as a medicine and a perfume, jasmine is considered sacred to the god Vishnu and flowers are strung together to make fragrant garlands for honoured guests. The Hindu god of love, Kama, had his arrows tipped with jasmine flowers in order to pierce the heart with desire.
Native to northern India, Persia and China, it is cultivated commercially in India, Egypt, Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, China and Japan. There are 43 species in India, 14 or more are used medicinally or aromatically. It was imported to Spain in the seventeenth century by the Moors. Jasmine is a genus that includes some 300 species of hardy evergreen shrubs or vines, growing to a height of up to 10 metres, with delicate bright green leaves and intensely fragrant star-shaped white or creamy yellow flowers. The plant flowers daily between June and December. Millions of the flowers are picked by hand before dawn to produce the oil. The resulting yield is very low, typically 0.1% which makes jasmine a truly precious oil. Some refer to rose as the queen of aromatherapy oils, while jasmine is the king.
Traditional extraction was done by enfleurage, a time consuming process where fresh flowers would be laid on a thin layer of fat or oil and allowed to rest for three or four days. Once the blooms were starting to fade, they would be removed by hand and a fresh layer added. This procedure would be repeated ten or twenty times until the resulting pomade had reached maximum saturation. Extremely time consuming you will admit and well beyond the budget of most mortals.
More modern extraction involves a two-fold process where the flowers are dissolved out by solvent - hexane. The solvent is then evaporated to produce a concrete - a solid mixture of waxes and aromatic compounds. As and when absolute is required for purchase, the second stage of processing is undertaken to remove all the waxes and retain the aromatic compounds only.
This new extract we now stock is processed using alcohol instead of hexane.
The oil from the absolute is deep reddish-brown with a rich and sweet, floral and exotic, slightly heady fragrance with oily, leafy-green undertones.
The new alcohol extract we supply is dark green with a yellow tinge. There are none of the harsh hexane overtones that one gets in an absolute. However the aroma smelt straight from the bottle is not generally what one expects. It is certainly lighter and more mysterious than its cousin the absolute. It is a lot more subtle and needs to be put into an oil or a cream in order to appreciate its aroma. It will work well as a base note in a blend of essential oils and will blend with a wide spectum of oils. It is a useful alternative to the absolute for product developers who wish to include jasmin in their formulations but are unable to use the absolute (due to the use of hexane during the extraction process) under the restrictive Soil Association rules
Some tips to smell this oil – unlike the Jasmine Absolute which smells like Jasmine straight from the bottle (with a strong whiff of the hexane present), the alcohol extract needs to be smelt either after diluting it in some vegetable oil to get a true reflection of its delicate scent, or once it has been blended with some other oils eg citrus, floral or spices. As experienced perfumers know, the secret with many oils such as lotus, violet leaf and oak moss, is in subtle blending which brings out the rich undertones and exotic richness creating a multi-layered symphony of scent.
There are well over 100 constituents found in the alcohol extract with the typical composition being: esters including benzyl benzoate(20.6%), phytyl acetate (8.6%); monoterpenic alcohols including geranyl linalool (8.6%), cis phytol (4.5%), trans phytol (2.8%) and linalol (3.9%); phenols including eugenol (2.2%); ketones including cis-jasmone (2%), alpha tocopherol (7.2%) and numerous trace compounds including benzyl alcohol, benzyl acetate, cis methyl jasmonate, farnesene, and geraniol.
Jasmine is used medicinally as an analgesic, anti-depressive, Anti-infectious, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, calmative, mild cardio-tonic, expectorant, parturient and uterine tonic.
Jasmine is the most valued oil in childbirth, applied to the lower back and abdomen in early labour it will help with relieving pain and strengthen the contractions as well as promoting focus and strength. Jasmine also helps with the expulsion of the placenta, hormone balancing and in the treatment of post natal depression.
Being a powerful influence on the emotional system, jasmine can be used when people are inhibited from showing love due to unresolved emotional blocks. It helps to reunite love with passion.
The fragrance diminishes fear, it is helpful in enhancing self confidence an defeating pessimism. No other oil is quite as capable of changing our mood so intensely, it offers little choice other than optimism,’ says Susanne Fischer-Rizzi.
In Traditional Oriental medicine, the oil’s cool/neutral energy are used to regulate QI, specifically that of the Heart and Uterus. It is useful in cases of nervous tension, restlessness, agitation, insomnia, nervous debility, anxiety, depression and palpitations. As Jasmine regulates the Qi and Blood in the Uterus, it is advised in cases of irregular menstruation, PMT, dysmenorrhoea. It enhances sexual desire in cases of impotence or frigidity due to tension or melancholy. By tonifying the Spleen Qi, it clears Dampness so is used in cases of lethargy, loose stools, diarrhoea and mucous colitis.
According to Mojay, whenever fear and vulnerability, or anxiety and depression, cut us off from our ability to share physical pleasure and affection, jasmine oil can support, reassure and delight. Its voluptuously warm, joyous fragrance allows the heart to again flow through the river of the senses. If jasmine can reawaken passion and reunite it with love, so too on a mental –spiritual level can it restore creativity and enhance intuition.
Aromatherapist and kinesiologist Robbi Zweck says that ‘when you are faced with seemingly unresolvable emotional challenges and feeling fearful, the exotic beauty of Jasmine will dissolve those fears, tenderly building trust while pouring its jewelled light into your heart. Sit with your fears and concerns, take a breath and another and another. Wait in the stillness. An answer will arise. Prayer and deep faith will open you to trusting yourself, blessing the present and expecting the best.’
Avoid in the first eight months of pregnancy.
Suggestions for use
Jasmine will blend well with the citrus, the flowers such as geranium, lavender, neroli & ylang-ylang, the spices (black pepper, cardamon, ginger), the grasses (palmarosa, patchouli), the woods (cedar, sandalwood and rosewood)
We have created a few blends to give you some ideas of what can be done. Of course, the suggestions are endless, proportions can be adjusted according to personal tastes and the overall therapeutic value that the blend is aining at achieving.
30 drops represent about 1ml of essential oils. Add 1% to a base oil or cream (0.5 ml or 15 drops in 50 ml) and enjoy
Jasmine - 2 drops
Ylang ylang -1 drop
Orange - 3 drops
Black Pepper - 2 drops
Mandarin - 2 drops
Jasmine - 2 drops
ylang ylang - 1 drop
Palmarosa - 1 drop
Geranium - 1 drop
Lemon - 3 drops
Jasmine - 2 drops
Frankincense - 2 drops
Neroli - 1 drop
Grapefruit - 2 drops
Jasmine - 2 drops
Cedarwood - 2 drops
Cardamon - 1 drop
Patchouli - 1 drop
Lemon - 2 drops
The heavenly scent of jasmine makes it a delight to use in facial massage or richly nourishing night creams and other nurturing products.
Some midwifes have used a blend of 10 drops jasmine, 5 drops clary sage in 25ml base oil such as jojoba, sunflower or sweet almond during labour to assist with contractions and pain relief. The blend is applied to the abdomen, lower back and sacrum to provide focus and strength.
Naturally it would be gorgeous in a sensual or romantic massage blend for couples to enjoy a cosy evening indoors.
The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia
Complete Aromatherapy Handbook by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi
The Blossoming Heart by Robbi Zeck
Course notes from ITHMA Diploma
Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit by Gabriel Mojay
To order the Jasmine alcohol extract
To order Jasmine absolute