Thriving in subtropical, tropical, and warm regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe, Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflora) is available in several types, including shrubs, small trees, and vines. Common varieties include Winter Jasmine, Night-Flowering Jasmine, Arabian Jasmine, Japanese Jasmine, South African Jasmine, Common Jasmine, Isralian Jasmine, Italian Jasmine, and the Spanish Jasmine. Belonging to the Oleaseae family, Jasmine performs well as ground cover. It can also be grown in containers, in groupings, or as a freestanding planting.
Although the majority of Jasmine flowers are white in color, some varieties produce yellow blossoms. The flowers offer a deliciously sweet scent (elegant floral with sweet undertones) that delivers exotic notes. They appear in the spring and summer months. They are approximately one inch in size and feature five or six petals that are waxy to the touch. Since the flowers open only after the sun has set in the evening hours, their fragrance is more noticeable at that time. Growing in small clusters, the flowers eventually give way to a profusion of small berries.
Grown for its gorgeous appearance, fragrance, capability as a beauty ingredient and medicinal properties, the Jasmine flower is popular worldwide. This delicate tropical flower gets its name from the word "Yasmin," a Persian word meaning "A gift from God."
Symbolically, the Jasmine flower portrays many emotions, feelings, and experiences including love, happiness, life, sensuality, amiability, modesty, nobility, grace, and hope in many cultures. The elegance of this flower and its charming fragrance create a positive image that lends itself to symbolic meanings that are optimistic and positive in nature. In some circles, it is believed that the Jasmine flower can bring love or wealth to the individual who cultivates, displays, or wears it.
The Jasmine flower is the national flower for the countries of Pakistan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. While different cultures offer a variety of symbolic meanings for Jasmine flowers, they all seem to focus on positive, loving experiences or feelings. In India, the flowers represent divine hope. In China, they denote the kindness portrayed by females. In Thailand, this flower is viewed as being reflective of a mother who sacrifices much to give life to children and nurture them.
Several countries maintain the cultural practice of utilizing essential oil of Jasmine for its aphrodisiac capabilities. The Indian subcontinent decorates brides with this romantic, sensual flower and sprays the wedding-night room with an abundance of Jasmine sprays to "set the mood." Asian countries have long included there ornamental flowers for wear as hair accessories or in garlands. In Hawaii, these flowers frequently appear in the traditional lei. Both Mediterranean and Asian countries have included Jasmine flowers as integral parts of religious ceremonies.
The Chinese credit Jasmine tea with helping to prevent diseases, including cancer. Jasmine flowers can be used to make Jasmine flower tea or to flavor green tea. This type of tea has been used for centuries to treat insomnia as well as headaches, and it continues to be part of a daily dietary regimen for many of the Chinese people today.
Jasmine flowers can be used to produce an oil that is commonly used in a variety of beauty care products, including shampoos, soaps, perfumes, bath oils, creams, and cosmetics. Jasmine oil offers antiseptic and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Due to these capabilities, it is used in formulas designed to aid in the healing of wounds and burns and the clearing up of bacteria that causes acne breakouts on surface skin. Moreover, Jasmine oil is included as a natural ingredient that encourages new skin cell growth, improves skin elasticity, and speeds the healing of blemishes.
This oil is also used in incense as well as in aromatherapy practices. During aromatherapy sessions, Jasmine oil is used to clear congestion, encourage expectoration, and induce restful sleep. The oil is deep orange in color, and induces an uplifting sensation that calms the spirit as well as the body. Therefore, it is utilized to help alleviate the symptoms of depression, instill confidence, or boost the general spirit with renewed invigoration. Since numerous flowers are needed to produce even a small quantity of Jasmine oil, it is expensive to make, widely popular, and somewhat masculine in scent, and so it has been called the "King of Oils."