What Is Jasmine Water?

Dan Harkins

Hydrosols, or hydrolates, are flower oils distilled by steaming into water, which are then used for a variety of culinary, aromatherapy and skin-care uses. Jasmine water is one of the more commonly utilized hydrosols. Not only do several Thai desserts call for this ingredient, but it is also a centuries-old Chinese remedy for menstrual problems. On a more global scale, many appreciate jasmine water for its long-lasting, stress-relieving perfume.

Chinese herbalists have utilized jasmine water for easing menstrual cramps.
Chinese herbalists have utilized jasmine water for easing menstrual cramps.

Several Asian markets as well as incense vendors sell hydrosols, though they often come in the form of essential oils. Some of the more common waters infused with floral essences are jasmine, sandalwood, rose, lavender and chamomile. Many others are available though, from frankincense and eucalyptus to cinnamon and juniper berry. If a plant grows flowers, a water can be made from it.

Some anti-aging creams and lotions include jasmine water as an ingredient.
Some anti-aging creams and lotions include jasmine water as an ingredient.

Creating jasmine water from scratch requires just two things: distilled water and having enough jasmine petals to infuse that water with the flower's distinctive aroma. To distill water, it should be boiled and then cooled. After that, petals are placed on the surface of the water, and then the container is covered so that the water can become infused overnight. Some add the flowers immediately after the boiling process is completed to create a steam that helps to distill the petals and drain them of oils that can be absorbed by the water. One recipe calls for the petals of a dozen jasmine flowers for every about 33.8 fluid oz (1 liter) of distilled water.

Star jasmine.
Star jasmine.

Jasmine water is called for as an ingredient in several Thai desserts. Thai jasmine pudding is a sweet and floral custard topped with coconut cream. the water also has been utilized for centuries to impart distinctiveness to Thai rice, called jasmine rice. The floral water's inclusion not only adds a subtle sweetness but also a distinctive floral aroma.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), jasmine water is sometimes used to alleviate menstrual cramps and lethargy.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), jasmine water is sometimes used to alleviate menstrual cramps and lethargy.

Jasmine water is not only prized for food though. Chinese herbalists have utilized this hydrosol for easing menstrual cramps, anxiety, lethargy or even sore throats, when inhaled. It is also considered by some to be a stimulating aphrodisiac when worn as a perfume in the hair or on the body's pulse points. This water is also included in many lotions and anti-wrinkle creams, not for moisturizing qualities but as a stress-reducing aromatherapy agent. It is commonly paired with vanilla extract or black currant as a distinctive and lingering scent.

Some consider jasmine water to be an aphrodisiac when worn as perfume on the body's pulse points.
Some consider jasmine water to be an aphrodisiac when worn as perfume on the body's pulse points.
Inhaling the steam of jasmine water may help treat sore throats and other conditions.
Inhaling the steam of jasmine water may help treat sore throats and other conditions.

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Discussion Comments

ysmina

@candyquilt-- My roommate is Thai and she says that you won't be able to find jasmine water in the stores because people usually make it at home with fresh jasmine. However, you may be able to find jasmine food flavoring at the stores and you can add some of the flavoring to water to use as jasmine water.

If you can't find that either, I suppose you could use rose water instead. If you are making rice pudding and if you are using jasmine rice, you might not even need jasmine water since the rice is fragrant as well.

candyquilt

I want to make Thai jasmine pudding but I don't have jasmine water. I couldn't find it at the Thai market or other Asian groceries. I also don't have access to fresh jasmine. What should I do? Can I substitute something else for jasmine water?

SteamLouis

I love using jasmine water as a body and hair spray. It's very refreshing in the summer and I love the light and flowery fragrance that lingers after I use it. I sometimes also use it as a facial toner and it works great.

However, I'd like to warn others that not all jasmine water products are good quality. Some products add a few drops of jasmine oil into distilled water and call it jasmine water. But jasmine water is made by infusing jasmine petals into water as the article described. So I urge everyone shopping for jasmine water to read product details carefully. And never use jasmine water for food unless it is specifically intended for that purpose.

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