Jasmine flowers have been used as fragrance by women long before modern fragrance houses captured the aroma for "anytime, anywhere" use. The term Jasmine is derived from the Persian language "Yasmin" which means "Gift from the God"
In India, Jasmine is called "Mogra" in Hindi or "Mallika" in Sanskrit. Ayurveda mentions the use of flowers and its essential oil as a "Sattvic tonic". It symbolizes compassion and love and hence recommended as an aphrodisiac for women. Ayurveda also recommends its use in curing specific ailments.
Chinese call the flower "Mo Li" and use the flower for scenting and herbal tea. Some manufacturers blend Jasmine flowers with Green tea.
Scientists have discovered that the sweet smell of Jasmine is just as effective as valium in calming nerves. Jasmine increased the GABA effect significantly and compared favorably with sedatives and relaxants- with the harmful side-effectslike dizziness, impaired coordination and hypotension.
Laboratory tests showed that the smell of jasmine went from the lungs to the brain. When lab mice were subjected to this odor, they calmed down.
Is it any wonder that Jasmine is a favorite amongst aromatherapists?
Update: Aromatherapy by definition involves aroma either from flowers or their derivatives - essential oil, concrete, oleoresins etc. Ingestion is not part of aromatherapy - it becomes therapy once you ingest. When you smell a fragrant flower you are getting an aroma that is a fraction of what the aroma is from essential oil or other such extract. Therein lies the potential for developing allergies, side-effects. It takes 3000-4000 kgs of Rose petals to make 1 kg of Rose essential oil. This provides an idea of how concentrated essential oils can be.
So smell the flowers and treat essential oils with great care.
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