Jasmine Essential Oil
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Jasmine - Introduction
Jasmine is a genus of shrubs and vines native to warm and tropical regions of Asia, Africa and Europe. Jasmine is cultivated all over the world: As a garden or house plant; for its flowers, which are worn for their beauty and fragrance by women in Asia; for the creation of jasmine tea; and for the production of jasmine essential oil, which is made from the flowers. 
The essential oil of Jasmine was for a long time a staple of the perfume industry - and it has been very widely used in perfumes and incense manufacture. However, due to both the extreme cost and inevitable variations in the final aroma of the natural product, synthetic jasmine fragrance components are in wide use in the modern age. Genuine pure Jasmine essential oil is extremely expensive - and slightly uncommon. The buyer should be aware that many fragrances sold as "Jasmine oil" may contain or be entirely made from synthetic imitations, other essential oils or other fragrance ingredients.
If you are intending to use Jasmine essential oil therapeutically, it is generally advised to seek out the genuine article. Be aware first of all that the modern age is absolutely rife with product adulteration / imitation. The first stage in investigation is to observe whether the product is labeled as 100% pure Jasmine flower essential oil, or 100% pure Jasmine absolute. If it does not state specifically that it is, it quite probably is not. For greater assurance of purity, those who are serious about their essential oils should consider requesting to view lab certificates of product authenticity, and to seek products from trusted "high end" essential oil suppliers.
Another thing to note - if absolutes are to be used therapeutically, they should ideally be CO2 absolutes. Absolutes that use organic solvents (solvent extraction) are widely agreed to leave traces in the final product which may render it unsuitable for therapeutic use, with potential toxicity issues. See the section on extraction, below, for a fuller explanation.
Jasmine has also been considered to be an "aphrodisiac scent". It's even said that owners of elephants put jasmine oil (or jasmine flowers) on them in order to arouse them when they wish to assist them in reproducing! Whether Jasmine has some actual aphrodisiac effect on the animals, is something that seems unlikely to have been researched scientifically. 
Jasmine Essential Oil - Methods Of Extraction
The creation of Jasmine essential oil is an interesting and complex process. As with other flowers such as rose, it takes a huge amount of petals to make a small amount of oil. Also, the jasmine flowers are best gathered after dark because the scent of the jasmine flower is more powerful at night.
In modern times, most essential oils are either cold pressed or extracted using steam distillation. Steam is passed through plant matter and then condensed and collected. However, with Jasmine, these methods are not used because the delicate fragrance of Jasmine is denatured by the high temperature of steam distillation.
Jasmine essential oil is either extracted using chemical (solvent) extraction or (traditionally) by enfleurage.  Enfleurage is an ancient, labour-intensive process using animal fat to absorb the fragrance of the flowers. It was once the only accurate method of extracting the fragrance from the flowers. Nowadays, another method used is chemical extraction. 
Some varieties of Jasmine can be used to create absolutes - similar to essential oils but more concentrated. These are created using solvent extraction using an organic solvent such as hexane - and in some ways, due to the lower temperatures required, this method preserves the delicate fragrance more closely. However, solvent extraction has come under criticism because it leaves trace amounts of solvent in the absolute. The "notes" (fragrant markers) of these are detectable by experts. Absolutes are considered inappropriate for aromatherapy as there are possible health concerns: If they were included in massage oil, they would be absorbed by the skin. However, for perfume use absolutes are (generally) considered acceptable; the overall effect on the fragrance is less undesirable than that caused by high temperature processing. 
The first stage of extraction yields what is called oleoresin or concrete - which in a mixture of essential oil, waxes and resins. Another solvent such as alcohol (ethyl alcohol) is used to separate the fragrant oils from the non-fragrant waxes. The alcohol is then removed, leaving only the absolute. Around one pound of concrete is able to be created from 1000 pounds of Jasmine flowers. 
Another fascinating method of extraction uses supercritical carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide under high pressure) to create the concrete, and then liquid carbon dioxide to separate the essential oils from the waxes. Supercritical carbon dioxide is carbon dioxide that is at a temperature and pressure exceeding 31ºC and 73 atmospheres pressure. This substance has both liquid and gas-like properties. By controlling the temperature and pressure, the solvent quality can be "tuned" in order to imitate the solubility characteristics of a wide range of solvents. In other words, a very complete and accurate extraction of all fractions can be achieved. 
This method is said to be the best - it has the benefit that it does not leave chemical residues, and does not cause thermal degradation of the oils. At the end of the process, the carbon dioxide simply evaporates.  This method also has potential environmental benefits in that hazardous or toxic solvents are not required.
Jasmine is listed in the AHPA's "Herbs of Commerce", p.81. 
Jasmine Essential Oil - Uses
In aromatherapy and fragrance, Jasmine has numerous uses: It is used for headache relief, mood elevation, stress relief, confidence, PMS, vitality and optimism. Typical methods of use include adding 8-10 drops to bath water, putting 3-5 drops in a diffuser or adding 3-5 drops to a massage oil blend. 
Jasmine has been used since ancient times within the realm of fertility and childbirth. It is said to increase libido in both men and women. It is diffused during childbirth, as it is said to strengthen contractions and relive labor pain. It is suggested not to be diffused until labor is well advanced. Jasmine is also used to increase breast milk and to relieve post-natal depression. 
Jasmine is also used as a skin tonic, with a few drops being added to unscented face lotion.
Jasmine is used for coughs by adding a few drops to hot water for steam inhalation. It is reported to deepen breathing and calm bronchial spasms. 
Jasmine Essential Oil - Scientific Studies
Some medical studies regarding jasmine may be found in the literature - however note that many of these deal with ethanolic extracts, not the essential oil. (Think "Jasmine tea!") The essential oil should not be taken internally.
A 2005 study found oral administration of ethanolic extract of J. grandiflorum flowers to have a potent (100%) chemopreventive efficacy in experimental mammary carcinogenesis in vivo. This is a very strong indicator for possible use as a breast cancer preventive herbal remedy or as a basis for investigation and isolation of the bioactive principle - although much further research needs to be done and I have seen no follow-up studies listed since 2005! The extract also demonstrated significant anti-lipid peroxidative effect and improved the antioxidant defense of test subjects. 
A 2010 study found jasmine to have a stimulating effect when used in aromatherapy massage. 
Jasminum officinale has a history of use in southern China as a treatment for hepatitis. A 2009 study at the Academy of Military Medical Science, Beijing found Jasminum officinale L. var. grandiflorum to have antiviral action against hepatitis B virus both in vitro and in vivo. 
A 2008 study found anti-diarrhoea and analgesic activities of the methanol extract and its fractions of Jasminum amplexicaule, supporting its traditional use in China in this regard. 
Jasmine essential oil (Jasminum sambac L.) has been found to have some antibacterial activity against E. Coli. Presumably in vitro as abstract does not say. Researchers think activity due to "inhibition of cell membrane synthesis". 
An extract of Jasminum grandiflorum flower was found to increase wound healing rate in vivo, with not only wound area decreased compared to control subjects, but also increased well organized bands of collagen, more fibroblasts and few inflammatory cells. (2007). Extract administered orally to animals for 10 days. 
A 2006 study found that an ethanolic extract of Jasminum fruticans L. (branches) displayed significant anthelmintic activity against pinworms, Syphacia obvelata and Aspiculuris tetraptera, in mice. 
Jasmine - History
The name Jasmine is derived from the old Persian Yasmin which means "gift from God"  - or, according to another source, the name Yasmin is a reference to aphrodisiac quality.  Jasmine has been in use in fragrance and as a decorative flower since ancient times.
Jasminum varieties Indicum, Solanum, Mexicanum, rubrum, luteum, album and variegatum are mentioned in Ludovico Jungerman's 1635 Catalogus plantarum quae in horto medico Altdorphino reperiuntur  ("Catalog of plants which are found in the medical garden of Altdorphinus")
Jasmine was mentioned in Elizabeth Blackwell's "A Curious Herbal" (1751): 1. This Shrub shoots forth long slender green twigs, which would lie on ye ground if they were not supported; the Flowers of the common Jasmine are white. 2. It is planted with us in Garden , and flowers for several months in the Summer. 3. The Flowers are th only Part used. Schroder commends them as good to warm and relax the womb, to heal any Schirrthi therein, and to facilitate the Birth; and also for a Cough and Difficulty of breathing. The oil made by Infusion of the Flowers is used in perfumes. Matthiolus thinks that the ointment made of Jasmine by the Ancients was not that Jasmine which we have now.
Jasmine - Other Names:
Latin: Jasminum officinale, Jasminum odoratissimum
Ayurvedic: Jessamine, Jati
Sanskrit: Maalatie, Mallika, Muktaa, Muktamani, Mauktika
Hindi: Chameli, Juhie, Motiyaa
Marathi: Jaaie, Juie, Saayalie, Chamelie, Mogaraa
Jasmine Essential Oil - References
 "Herbs of Commerce" (AHPA) (2000 edition) - Michael McGuffin, John T. Kartesz, Albert Y Leung, Arthur O. Tucker p.81
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