Introduction to Jasmine
Perhaps most well known for its incredibly sensual, intoxicating fragrance, the jasmine flower has long been revered as a symbol of love and romance. Referred to colloquially as the ‘Queen of the Night,’ jasmine’s sweet scent creates its allure during the midnight hours and invokes dreamy memories of long summer nights.
Jasmine is thought to be originally native to the Himalayas and more broadly, tropical Asia and India. Since then, the popularity of the sensuality-invoking plant has ensured its rapid spread to many areas of the world. Among the hundreds of different types of jasmine plants, there are two species that are primarily sourced to provide jasmine oil Jasminum officinale var. grandiflorum (aka J. grandiflorum and J. officinale) and J. sambac. Two other species are also used to extract jasmine absolute, although they are lesser known: J. auriculatum and the even rarer J. flexile.
As seen in many trades, the more popular a commodity is, the higher the demand, and with an expensive and hard to produce item such as jasmine oil there is a tendency for unscrupulous companies to offer an adulterated product. Unfortunately, jasmine oil is commonly blended with synthetic aromatic chemicals, as well as enhanced with other natural oils or fractions of them, in an effort to pass off the impure oil at a high price. Authentic jasmine oil (known as jasmine absolute) however is readily available these days and it should be sought out and used whenever one is looking for the truly exhilarating aroma of pure jasmine.
In addition to jasmine oil’s wide popularity in the fragrance industry, the jasmine plant has long been revered as a folk medicine and among horticulturists, while jasmine oil is widely used in body care, culinary, cultural, aesthetic, and some therapeutic applications. However, it is the jasmine flower petals themselves along with the exquisite oil extracted from them that are most noted for their mood enhancing effects, increasing a feeling of well-being and acting as a subtle aphrodisiac.