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Jasmine is one of the most expensive essential oils in aromatherapy use. It is also one of the most adulterated essential oils.
Jasmine Essential Oil for Love
Jasmine (jasminum officinale) has been coveted in both Muslim and Hindu traditions as the “oil of romance.” It is said that the prince's favorite harem wife seduced her lover by taking a jasmine-scented bath and massage prior to their romantic interludes. Jasmine supposedly inspired Arab poets too and was a favorite ingredient of love potions. Jasmine is reputed to possess many aphrodisiac qualities that no other essential oil can match!
However, jasmine does have uses in traditional plant medicine. In China, liver cirrhosis, dysentery and hepatitis have all been treated by jasmine; the root of the plant has been used to treat headaches, rheumatism and joint pain and insomnia. Western medicine has used Jasmine in the birthing process, coughs and breathing difficulties.
Extraction of Jasmine Oil
Jasmine essential oil is not actually an essential oil at all; jasmine oil is obtained by a process of enfleurage (a old method that is in little use today) or by solvent extraction. Jasmine produces an absolute, or a concrete, and not a steam distilled essential oil. Enfleurage and solvent extraction are similar methods, except the latter replaces the use of fats with that of a solvent, such as hexane.
The process of enfleurage involves leaving jasmine flowers on top of a blend of fats which then absorb the flowers' fragrance; over a number of days fresh flowers replace the old flowers and a pomade is produced. The fats are removed with alcohol and eventually the alcohol is removed to produce an absolute; jasmine oil is so expensive because of this costly and labor intensive process. A lot of flowers produce little oil. This is why jasmine oil is also open to frequent adulteration.
Use of Jasmine Oil in Aromatherapy
Jasmine has highly fragrant, white flowers that are used to produce jasmine essential oil. In addition to its aphrodisiac qualities, jasmine is known to be calming and sedative, good for depression, nervous exhaustion and stress. It is also a good oil for use in skin care, especially for use with sensitive skin.
Jasmine essential oil is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, carminative and a uterine tonic. It can be used for coughs, chest infections, labor pains, sprains, menstrual pain and cramps. However, due to jasmine's high price, lesser expensive essential oils may be used just as effectively for similar problems used with jasmine.
Jasmine, with its heady fragrant aroma, takes it place amongst the most expensive of aromatherapy oils such as rose and melissa but, in doing so, is open to adulteration. It should be noted that a synthetically produced oil, acceptable in the fragrance industry where a 'signature' scent is the requirement, has no place in aromatherapy as it will not hold the same healing and therapeutic properties.
Davis, Patricia 2005 Aromatherapy An A-Z London:Vermilion
Lavabre, Marcel 1990 Aromatherapy Workbook Vermont: Healing Arts Press
Lawless, Julia 1995 The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils London: Element
This article was written by Sharon Falsetto and appeared in its original format on Suite101 as Jasmine Essential Oil
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