Jasmine is an evergreen shrub or vine of the oleaceae family, known to grow up to 30 feet. There are over a hundred varieties. It has bright green leaves and very fragrant white, star-shaped flowers. The plant is native to China, northern India and Asia, but cultivated many places around the world. It’s name, jasmyn, is Arabic and some believe it was brought to North Africa and Spain by the Moors, then around the mid1500’s, introduced to southern France by Spanish sailors.
In China, many species of Jasmine are used medicinally. To treat hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver and dysentery, the flowers of J. officinnale var. grandiflorum are used. For tumors, skin ulcers and conjunctivitis, the flowers of J. sambac are used. The root of J. sambac is used to treat circulation, headaches and joint pain. Both are part of the World Sensorium formula. Additionally, Jasmine is recognized for its therapeutic use as a remedy for bronchial and respiratory ailments. Jasmine tea, so popular in China, is consumed both for enjoyment and its beneficial properties. Many Chinese say the scent represents their higher self. Because Jasmine is galactagogue and a antispasmodic, it is also known to aid the female reproductive system, and uterine pain of childbirth.
In Pakistan, Egypt and many places in the world, Jasmine flowers are braided into garlands and worn. In Pakistan and parts of India, it is tradition for the flowers to cover wedding beds The experience of sweet-smelling Jasmine is always a pleasure and gratifying, and in the Middle East it is said to encourage social harmony and so is often used in religious ceremony. In the Mediterranean, Jasmine is still planted at the entrance of houses to welcome those who pass the threshold.
Since the 1800’s, Jasmine has been an important, and prestigious flower, prized in the fragrance world for it’s subtle sweet floral scent with tea like undertones. On the Cote d’ Azur, the large-flowered, Jasminum grandiflorum L. ( also called royal jasmine) and the small flowered Jasminum vulgare L. or Jasminum officinale ( also known as common jasmine or wild jasmine) has been used in the creation of natural perfumes. Because of the laborious time-consuming process by which Jasmine oil is produced, it is one of the most precious and expensive of oils. One ounce of essence is the yield of forty pounds of petals.