Jasmine

Jasmine has been grown since ancient times for its beauty alone, but its soothing scent hints at medicinal value that's more than meets the eye.

Quick Facts
General Information
  • Common name(s)Common jasmine, poet's jasmine, Jessamine
  • Scientific nameJasminum spp.
  • Geographic distributionMiddle East, Central Asia, East Asia
  • Plant typeShrub
  • Native regionCentral Asia
  • Main producer(s)China
  • Main Economic UseCosmetics
Jasmine

Jasmine has been utilized in human culture for so long that its exact place of origin remains a mystery, but most believe it to be native of central Asia. Its name comes from the Persian yasameen, which means "gift of god."

Jasmine Medicinal Properties

Quick Facts (Medicinal Properties)
  • Medicinal actionAntibacterial, Anxiolytic
  • Key constituentsLinalool
  • Ways to useHot infusions/tisanes, Food, Incense, Steam
  • Medicinal rating(2) Minorly useful plant
  • Safety rankingSafety undetermined

Health Benefits of Jasmine

With years of traditional medicinal success behind it, jasmine has also been researched and has several medicinal uses. Some of its primary medicinal purposes include:

  • Calming anxiety and stress. The distinctive scent of jasmine flowers is regarded as soothing, and it can be used as a mild tranquilizer.

  • Eliminating E. coli. Jasmine essential oil has been successfully used against this strain of bacteria.

Along with its primary medicinal functions, secondary uses include:

  • Reducing breast pain. Its action on prolactin can relieve breast pain or tenderness, especially if related to the menstrual cycle.

  • Treating and preventing stomach ulcers. Jasmine can be used to soothe the pain associated to stomach ulcers and keep them from getting aggravated.

How It Works

While not nutritious in the traditional sense, jasmine is rich in various phytonutrients, which are behind its medicinal properties. The compound linalool provides jasmine with is soothing aroma. Jasmine flowers also contain secoiridoids and glycosides, which likely play a part in its medicinal usefulness.

Although in-depth research on jasmine is just beginning, it is now known that linalool produces a sedative effect on the central nervous system. In addition, jasmine essential oil has antibacterial action, possibly because it can interrupt the bacteria's synthesis of cell membranes. Jasmine also has antioxidant activity, and this is thought to explain its ability to lower stomach acid secretions.

Anti-anxiety properties are also present in lemon balm and passion flower, whereas honeysuckle and marigold can provide similar antibacterial benefits.

Jasmine Side Effects

Jasmine is likely safe when consumed as food, as well as in many of its medicinal forms. However, little research has been done regarding its potential adverse effects, such as overdosing and possible allergic reactions, so it is best to carefully monitor use of this herb for medicinal purposes.

When applied to the breasts, jasmine can reduce levels of prolactin, the hormone that triggers lactation.

Jasmine Cautions

Because so little research has been done on the potential side effects of jasmine, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should limit their jasmine intake beyond food or tea.

How to Consume Jasmine

Quick Facts (How to Consume)
  • Edible partsFlowers
  • Edible usesFlavoring, Beverage
  • TasteAromatic, Sweet

While jasmine is used for some culinary purposes, the most effective way of obtaining the health benefits from jasmine is in medicinal forms of consumption, where the properties are more concentrated.

Natural Forms

  • Infusion. One of its most popular medicinal forms, jasmine tea has been traditionally used for calming anxiety and stress. Because of its strong antibacterial properties, it can also eliminate E. coli, as well as reduce breast pain and treat stomach ulcers.

Herbal Remedies & Supplements

  • Essential oil. Another popular medicinal form, jasmine essential oil can be massaged into the skin, helping ease anxiety and stress through its anxiolytic properties. It can also be ingested, where it can help treat stomach ulcers.

  • Incense. Jasmine incense sticks not only have a pleasant smelling, but they are often used to reduce anxiety and stress.

Buying

Quick Facts (Buying)
  • Where to buySupermarkets, Big online retailers

Globalization has made it possible to ship the herb worldwide, so regions were jasmine is not an indigenous species, such as Africa and the Americas, can have easy access to it.

Natural Forms

Jasmine plants can be found in many garden stores or plant nurseries, while some health stores or ethnic markets sell jasmine flowers.

The dried leaves and flowers of jasmine are available for purchase year-round, in both bulk form and teabags, in specialized herbal stores and most supermarkets.

Herbal Remedies & Supplements

Both jasmine essential oil and jasmine sticks can be found at herbal stores as aromatherapy products, and are also easy to purchase through online retailers, which offer a wide variety of brands.

Growing

Quick Facts (Growing)
  • Life cycleAnnual
  • Harvested partsFlowers, Leaves
  • Light requirementsFull sun, Partial shade
  • SoilLoamy sand
  • Soil pH6.6 – 7.3 (Neutral), 7.4 – 7.8 (Slightly alkaline)
  • Growing habitatSubtropical regions
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones6a (From −23.3 °C (−10 °F) to −20.6 °C (−5 °F)), 6b (From −20.6 °C (−5 °F) to −17.8 °C (0 °F)), 7a (From −17.8 °C (0 °F) to −15 °C (5 °F)), 7b (From −15 °C (5 °F) to −12.2 °C (10 °F)), 8a (From −12.2 °C (10 °F) to −9.4 °C (15 °F)), 8b (From −9.4 °C (15 °F) to −6.7 °C (20 °F)), 9a (From −6.7 °C (20 °F) to −3.9 °C (25 °F)), 9b (From −3.9 °C (25 °F) to −1.1 °C (30 °F)), 10a (From −1.1 °C (30 °F) to +1.7 °C (35 °F)), 10b (From +1.7 °C (35 °F) to +4.4 °C (40 °F))
  • Planting timeFall
  • Propagation techniquesCuttings
  • Potential insect pestsAphids, Mites, Scale insects
  • Potential diseasesFungi, Mildew, Root rot

Originally hailing from subtropical climates, jasmine thrives best in hot, humid climates. It is a deciduous or evergreen shrub that, under the right conditions, can grow up to 15 feet (4.6 m) per year.

Growing Guidelines

  • The plant covers a large quantity of ground - climbing as ivy would when given the chance - so support systems are recommended.

  • Loamy, sandy soil or clay allows for proper drainage, with a pH of 6.6 - 7.3 (Neutral), 7.4 - 7.8 (Slightly alkaline)

  • Jasmine thrives with at least six daily hours of full sun, and four or more of partial shade.

Additional Information

Quick Facts (Additional Information)
  • Other usesPaper, Perfume, Soapmaking

Plant Biology

Jasmine can be either deciduous or evergreen, and can grow over almost any surface, spreading or climbing depending on the circumstances. Its trademark flowers are slightly less than an inch (2.5 cm), wide and white, or yellow in color, normally clustered together on the shrub or vine. These are known to be especially fragrant, having a heavy, sweet scent that is most obvious during nighttime blooms.

  • Classification

    Avid gardeners may recognize jasmine (Jasminum spp.) quickly, but some may only know it by scent. Jasmine is classified as part of Olaeceae or olive family, a category it shares with approximately 600 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees.

  • Related Species and Cultivars of Jasmine

    Several species within the Jasminum genus possess medicinal properties, namely common jasmine (J. officinale), Spanish jasmine (J. grandiflorum), and Arabian jasmine (J. sambac).

    Due to the ornamental beauty of this genus, different jasmine cultivars have been developed, most notably 'Argenteovaregatum', 'Aureum', and 'Revolutum'.

Historical Information

Early records of jasmine can be found in ancient Chinese texts, but the herb has enjoyed greater popularity in India, where its flowers are used in religious rituals and as hair adornments for women. Common consensus is that the plant first came to Europe via Sicily, which was once a mix of Arab and Norman cultures. By the 14th century, jasmine was already heavily mentioned in Italian poetry, and by the 18th century, taxonomist Carl Linnaeus had assumed it was native to Switzerland on account of its prevalence in the Alpine region.

Economic Data

The highest rates of jasmine consumption come from China, where it has been a popular additive to tea for centuries, and they continue to export and sell it in this form worldwide. As an essential oil, it has been utilized in herbal medicinal practices such as aromatherapy and in dermatology as an anti-inflammatory component. Industries based on scent, like perfume and soap, also use the herb, because even a small dose of its oil still retains a strong smell. Jasmine is also a popular garden plant worldwide.

Popular Beliefs

In China, jasmine is commonly used in many traditional celebrations, especially weddings. This is because jasmine is a symbol for feminine sweetness and beauty.

Indian cultures continue to use the herb in all manner of religious ceremonies. Marriages, festivals, and everyday worship include jasmine flowers as a sign of veneration as well as an ornament.

Other Uses of Jasmine

  • Cosmetics. Commercial industries manufacturing products such as perfumes, creams, body lotions, soap, and incense sticks all count jasmine among their essential ingredients for success.

Bibliography

  • Germplasm Resources Information, Jasminus officinale
  • Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Antiulcer and in vitro antioxidant activities of Jasminum grandiflorum L., 2007
  • Royal Horticultural Society, Jasmine
  • Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica, [Glycosides from flowers of Jasminum officinale L. var. grandiflorum], 2007 ; [A new secoiridoid from the flowers of Jasminum officinale L. var. grandiflorum], 2008
  • Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Antibacterial Potential Assessment of Jasmine Essential Oil Against E. Coli, 2008
  • European Journal of Applied Physiology, Sedative effects of the jasmine tea odor and (R)-(-)-linalool, one of its major odor components, on autonomic nerve activity and mood states, 2005
  • The Australian & New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Suppression of puerperal lactation using jasmine flowers (Jasminum sambac), 1988