Probably an Iranian native, jasmine has captured the imagination for centuries. Forty-three different species are grown in East India, where women dress their hair with it and where it is poetically known as “moonlight of the grove.” Also called the “king of fragrance,” jasmine’s complex scent is found in most great perfumes. The most prized oil comes from France and Italy, although about 80 percent is Egyptian. Try as chemists do to reproduce it, synthetic jasmine is so harsh that it demands a touch of the true oil to soften it.
Extraction: Enfleurage of blossoms. Concrete, absolute (separated from the concrete, then steam distilled). The fragrance is fruity, floral and sweetly exotic.
Medicinal Action: Jasmine is a nervous-system sedative that reduces menstrual cramps and is sometimes used to alleviate prostate problems. Culpeper suggested rubbing it into “hard, contracted limbs.”
Cosmetic/Skin Use: The absolute is used for dry, sensitive or mature skin.
Emotional Attribute: Jasmine’s fragrance soothes headaches, insomnia, depression, anger and worry, and dissolves apathy, indifference and lack of confidence. Also an aphrodisiac.
Chinese Jasmine (J. sambac) –Also called “sambac jasmine,” this is originally from India and is richly fragrant.