Jasmine, a member of the plant family Oleaceae, originally comes from the northwest regions of India. It is an attractive climbing plant with delicate, pinkish-white flowers that exude a heady and delicious perfume. It is now cultivated for its oil in several countries, including Morocco, Egypt and France. Jasmine has been a mainstay of the perfume industry in France for many years now, in spite of the expense involved in the process of extracting its precious essential oil. The sensual qualities of jasmine have long been appreciated, as have its applications in skin care. It has also been used in the herbal medicine of East and West alike for the treatment of a variety of complaints.
Essential oil of jasmine is very expensive, simply because it is yielded in such small quantities. An astonishing amount of flowers is required to produce a small quantity of oil. The oil is extracted from the flowers of the plant, either by the process of enfleurage, a process still preferred by a very few perfume producers in spite of its labor intensiveness, or by solvent extraction. In spite of its expense, jasmine oil is highly esteemed in the perfume industry and is also an ingredient of many soaps, bath products, shampoos, etc. In addition, it is used to some extent by the food and drinks industry.
The oil is amber-brown in color and quite viscous. Its odor is rich, sweet and strongly floral. Few people dislike the scent of jasmine, and it is widely appreciated for its powerful aphrodisiac qualities which affect both sexes. It is sometimes used as an ingredient of incense. Beware of cheap imitations!
Therapeutically, jasmine is valued for its antidepressant properties. Jasmine is useful in the treatment of emotional pain and stress-related depression. It induces a feeling of calm relaxation and can lift the spirits considerably. When used in massage, it will bring comfort to those who are sad or worn down by the burdens of life. It is beneficial during childbirth – diluted and massaged into the area of the lower back it will help to relieve pain and relax the mother-to-be. In sensual massage, jasmine will increase the pleasure of both partners, and it can be beneficial in the treatment of loss of libido or impotence, especially if this is stress-induced.
In skin care, jasmine is balancing and gentle. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it suitable for the treatment of irritated and inflamed skin in particular, but all skin types, dry and greasy alike, can benefit from jasmine.
Jasmine makes a delicious addition to a vaporizer in a room, giving it an air of cheerful calm, and it has also been recommended for helping to lift the spirits of new mothers who are suffering from fatigue and ‘post-baby blues’. Jasmine combines successfully in many blends -the ease with which a harmonious blend can be created using jasmine oil adds to its versatility. The fragrance works particularly well in combination with citrus oils. The fragrance of jasmine oil is so powerful and long-lasting that, although it is costly, a little really does go a long way.
Suitable methods of use
- Skin care
Jasmine is generally nontoxic and nonirritant but can produce an allergic reaction in some extremely sensitive individuals.