The name “Jasmine” originates from the Persian word “Yasmin“, meaning “gift from God“, with its flower considered highly sacred in India and the Himalayas. In these regions women use it to scent their hair and on the day before a wedding, the bride to be wears a garland of jasmine and roses around her neck, as sensual symbol of her purity and passion. Infact in the symbolism of flowers Jasmine represents purity, simplicity, modesty and strength.
There are around 200 native species of this flower that can be found in Eurasia and Oceania, and only one species native to Europe. Botanists believe that jasmine originated in Persia from where it crossed the Red Sea and made it’s way to Turkey and Greece. It’s believed that this may have happened as early as 1000 BC.
Jasmine is incredibly expensive due to how difficult it is to extract oils from. It must be picked with extreme care only at night to prevent the sun from dissipating the scent of the flowers and if it is damaged, this may lessen the oil yield. Just to give you an idea: it takes around 7.6 million flowers to produce 1kg of jasmine essential oil!
For thousands years Jasmine essential oil has been used in many parts of Asia as a natural remedy for many health and mental conditions. The tea was drunk (and still is nowadays!) not only for its wonderful and delicate taste, but also for the many benefits to overall health and wellbeing it brings.
- Digestive and gastrointestinal benefits
Jasmine is rich in antioxidants that interact with gastrointestinal enzymes to facilitate better nutrients absorption and promote healthy bowel function. It also promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut and has been found to eliminate the harmful ones (a recent study found that Jasmine flower extract was effective at inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus cereus). The antispasmodic qualities of jasmine make it helpful to relieve indigestion, stomach cramps and soothe inflammation.
- Insomnia and stress relief
Jasmine has sedative effects on the nervous system, soothing and relaxing tense nerves, by bringing on feelings of calm, relaxation and stress relief. The sedative compounds found in this herb have been found to promote peaceful sleep, help to induce sleep and regulate irregular sleep patterns.
- Anxiety and mood improvement
The uplifting scent of jasmine essential oil has been proven to improve mood, de-stress and bring anxiety down to a more manageable level. Another study found that jasmine essential oil, when used in aromatherapy massage, has a stimulating effect could that alleviates depression and anxiety whilst uplifting the mood.
- Reproductive health
With natural hormone balancing properties, jasmine has been shown to improve symptoms of PMS, menopause, and act as an “emmenagogue” (a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow). The emmenagogue property of jasmine oil regulates menstrual cycles and provides relief from painful periods. Women who use Jasmine essential oil post-natally have experienced faster recovery times and a shorter post-natal period, as well as being less prone to post-natal depression.
Although jasmine is a likely safe flower to intake, always follow your doctor’s advice or consult a homeopatic herbalist pratictioner before starting to take it for health purposes. In terms of side effects, if present in some parfumes or body creams it might give you an allergic reaction (most likely skin related). You should also avoid jasmin when pregnant, as it can stimulate contractions.