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A charming Chinese native, jasmine (Jasminum officinale), or poet’s jasmine, is a flowering evergreen vine or shrub. The plant has been well-known since ancient times for its sweet scent, which is especially strong at night. Jasmine oil is commonly used in perfumes, cosmetics, creams, soaps, and shampoos.
While Jasminum officinale essential oil may be popular, it can also be expensive. Since the delicate flowers cannot be distilled like other essential oil extracts, a more vigorous extraction process is required. Furthermore, numerous flower petals are necessary for only a small amount of oil. In fact, it takes thousands of jasmine flowers to obtain just one fluid ounce (30 ml) of essential oil.
The more extensive method of chemical extraction, which is known as enfleurage or fat maceration, results in a higher absolute concentration. The longer process allows fat to absorb the flower’s aromatic compounds and is repeated for several days until it thoroughly saturated. Once the fat becomes saturated, the scent is extracted from the fat with alcohol rather than the Jasminum officinale flower. The increased concentration provides a more potent aroma.
In addition to the aromatic blooms, jasmine is also highly regarded for its medicinal benefits and use as an herbal remedy. The plant is used as a relaxant, astringent, sedative, and analgesic. Jasmine oil is frequently used in aromatherapy for emotional health and stress relief. As massage oil, Jasminum officinale is thought to be an aphrodisiac, warming and relaxing the body. It is also believed to alleviate menopausal symptoms and relieve both menstrual pain and that associated with childbirth.
Taken as tea, jasmine is a known sedative. It is good for treating mouth ulcers, coughs, hoarseness, and laryngitis. Jasmine tea is effective for treating fevers, infections, and anxiety. The tea is also thought to be helpful for calming stomach complaints. Ointments of Jasminum officinale are oftentimes used for treating pain and inflammation. Jasmine has been used for the skin as well, increasing elasticity.
The root and leaves of Jasminum officinale have been used in many cultures. Common treatments include that of headaches, insomnia, and nervous disorders. The flowers can be used as compresses for minor cuts as well. Jasmine is also useful for alleviating pain associated with joints and bones as well as muscle spasms and sprains. In some areas, the plant has been used for treating problems with ringworm and tapeworm.
Since jasmine is so expensive, many people find it more effective to grow the plant instead. Jasminum officinale is easy to grow and makes an exceptional container plant. Growing jasmine allows growers the ability to enjoy its fresh fragrance throughout the season.