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Jasmine Flowers (Jasminum officinale L.)
Jasmine (Jasminum officinale L.) in the Olive family (Oleaceae) is a deciduous twining vine with fragrant white flowers.
History and Traditional Use
J. officinale is native to the Himalayas, northern Iran, Afghanistan, and the Caucasus.1 The flower and the essential oil extracted from it have been used extensively in cosmetics and perfumery, and as a calmative (relaxing properties, sedative) and aphrodisiac (intensifies sexual desire).2 It has also been used to treat coughs and difficult breathing.3 When the leaves are boiled, an essential oil is obtained which has been used for irritations of the eye.4 In India, the root of jasmine is considered a valuable external application for ringworm. In China, the leaves are used as a blood-purifier, and it is also considered to be a powerful killer of parasitic intestinal worms, especially tapeworm. J. officinale var. grandiflorum (L.) Kobuski is used in China to treat hepatitis, pain caused by liver cirrhosis, and abdominal pain caused by dysentery.2
Modern Medicinal Use
Very little current research exists on the medicinal uses of jasmine. One study reported on the mind-stimulating effect of jasmine.5 Another study measured sleep quality, post-sleep mood and alertness, and cognitive performance of subjects who were exposed to jasmine fragrance.6 The subjects experienced greater sleep efficiency and less sleep movement, and upon awakening, were less anxious, performed cognitive tests more rapidly, and showed greater alertness in the afternoon hours. While more research is needed, these findings seem to indicate that jasmine fragrance could be used to improve sleep, alertness, and mental performance.
Modern Consumer Use
In skin care, jasmine is used in the treatment of dry, irritated, sensitive skin, and to prevent muscular spasms and sprains in muscles and joints.3 Jasmine is widely used in fragrance formulations, including creams, lotions, and perfumes. Jasmine absolute and the oil are used as flavor ingredients in most major food products including alcoholic (e.g. liqueurs) and soft drinks, and the dried flowers are used in Chinese jasmine tea.2
1 Bown D. The Herb Society of America New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses. London: DK Publishing; 2001.
2 Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley-Interscience; 1996.
3 Lawless J. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aroma Therapy and Herbalism. Rockport (MA): Element Books; 1995.
4 Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Volume 1. New York: Dover Publications, Inc; 1971.
5 Schnaubelt K. Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils. Berkeley (CA): Frog. Ltd.; 1999.
6 Raudenbush G, Koon J, Smith J, Zoladz P. Effects of odorant administration on objective and subjective measures of sleep quality, post-sleep mood and alertness, and cognitive performance. North American Journal of Psychology 2003;5(2):181-192.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Disclaimer: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.