Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ah...Jasmine...King of the Flowers!

One of the most intoxicating smells I know of is Jasmine...I love to stop and sniff the night air when it's rich, warm & sweet scent envelopes me. No wonder...Jasmine's scent is a valuable remedy in cases of severe depression and soothes the nerves, producing a feeling of confidence, optimism and euphoria, while revitalizing and restoring energy. Who can resist that?

Jasmine is an evergreen, climbing shrub that can grow up to 10 meters (33 feet) high and has dark green leaves and small white or yellow star-shaped flowers, which are picked at night, when the aroma is most intense. There are over 300 species of jasmine.

An experienced picker can pick 10,000-15,000 blossoms per night, which is important, because you will need 1,000 lbs of flowers to yield approximately one pound of liquid concrete, which yields 0.2% aromatic molecules. Jasmine oil starts it journey as a 'concrete', which is made by solvent extraction, after which an 'absolute' is obtained from the concrete, by separation with alcohol. The essential oil is then produced off the absolute by steam distillation.

Originally from China and Northern India, it was brought to Spain by the Moors, who also gave it the name Jasmine: derived from the Persian word 'yasmin'. Jasmine tea is a Chinese favorite (but Jasminum sambac - Arabian jasmine - is normally used for this). Incidentally, Jasminum sambac IS my favorite of all the jasmines as it has a richer, and more exotic truely deserves it's name: the "King of Flowers". I usually apply a 3% dilution of Jasminum sambac on my pulse points...and try not not spend all day sniffing my wrists! ;-)

What makes up this intoxicating scent? Well, there are well over 100 constituents found in jasmine oil, but the main chemical components are benzyl acetate, linalool, benzyl alcohol, indole, benzyl benzoate, cis-jasmone, geraniol, methyl anthranilate and trace amounts of p. cresol, farnesol, cis-3-hexenyl benzoate, eugenol, nerol, ceosol, benzoic acid, benzaldehyde, y-terpineol, nerolidol, isohytol, phytol etc.

The comforting sweetness of Jasmine makes it a valuable remedy in cases of severe depression. Because of its deeply soothing and calming nature, jasmine oil helps with sexual problems such as frigidity and impotence; it is renowned for being an aphrodisiac & sexual tonic.

Jasmine oil also facilitates delivery in childbirth: it hastens the birth by strengthening the contractions and at the same time relieves pain. It is effective in post-natal depression and promotes the flow of breast milk. It is also often used in skin care, especially in the treatment of dry or aggravated skin.

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