Posted by John Minton | Posted in Plants | Last Updated March 1, 2014
Tags: Fragrant, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom, White Flowers
Jasminum Officinale is the original Jasmine. There are over 230 varieties of Jasmine plants, so technically when someone says “Jasmine”, this is probably what they should be referring to in my opinion unless they specify a variation of this plant (such as Jasminum Polyanthum, Jasminum Sambac “Maid of Orleans”, Star Jasmine/Trachelospermum Jasminoides, etc).
Jasminum Officinale is not the same as Jasminum Grandiflorum (or Jasminum Officinale
Grandiflorum), though some people do consider them the same they are in fact two different species.
Note: I do have both the Jasminum Officinale and the Jasminum Grandiflorum, though they have not flowered yet and are actually kind of small. Unfortunately this means I can not give you as much information as I’d like, though, please feel free to ask questions if you have any. This post is specifically about the Jasminum Officinale.
Jasminum Officinale appears to have a few more uses than other jasmines! Tea can be made from the Jasminum Officinale flower. From what I understand the flowers have the strongest scent early morning so many plantations harvest the flowers early morning before the dew drops because the dew kind of ruins the scent and flavor. You could literally bake the flowers into cakes, cookies and a number of desserts! Use your imagination because the sky is the limit! Of course the scent is amazing, so you can be sure it is also used in perfumes, soaps, body lotion, etc.
This is where it gets a little interesting, there are many medicinal uses of Jasminum Officinale: the flowers, the oil extracted from the flowers, the leaves and the root can all be used for different medicinal purposes. Most notably the oils and the scent from the flowers can be used in aromatherapy as an aphrodisiac and treatment for impotence (lack of sexual “drive” in males), frigidity (lack of sexual “drive” in females), depression and nervous tension. The flowers themselves can be used as antiseptic, antispasmodic, galactagogue (promotes lactation), astringent, antibacterial, antiviral and can also be used in the treatment of weak digestion. I also read that the juice of the Jasminum Officinale leaves contain salicylic acid (used as an analgesic, fever reducing) and can be applied to corns. The root can be used in the treatment of ringworm.
Getting a massage with the oil not only smells great (aromatherapy) but the oil can cause a warming sensation with is extremely relaxing and if rubbed on the lower part of the stomach I read that it can help reduce cramping during menstrual cycle, though you might just try the tea first as it may also relieve some menstrual cramps and related abdominal pains.
For some, Jasminum Officinale oil can be an “allergic sensitizer”, meaning that upon prolonged use or exposure the body will start to react to the oil much like an allergy reaction – typical allergic reactions can range from rashes, headaches to not sleeping and sneezing or coughing. Using small amounts or taking longer breaks between use can fix this if you develop any such symptoms. This can be true for many oil based fragrances.
An interesting note, the amount of oil we are able to extract from a single Jasminum Officinale flower is so little that it takes anywhere from 30-50 pounds of flowers to create one liquid ounce of absolute oil (30ml). There are many different ways to extract the essence of Jasminum Officinale. Many commercial plants lay the flowers in a grease pan (or some other “fat” substance), stacking the pans on each other to seal them. Once the flowers essence has been soaked into the fat they are able to extract the scent with alcohol! A more simple way to take care of this at home is to soak the flowers in the purest, highest quality olive oil you can find. After a while take out the flowers, and replace with new ones. Continue until the oil is scented to your liking. This oil can be used in baking, scenting the home or massages!
If you are a “go getter” (or just over active imagination like myself) you could potentially create a distiller and extract the oil that such way, though from what I read it is a less efficient way to extract the oil, not to mention that the heat from the distillation process may chemically change oils. Some Cold water process would be better.
Jasminum Officinale is easy to grow, I leave it outdoors as much as possible unless it starts to freeze, then I bring it indoors with consistent temperatures 60°F and up and a small grow light to keep it going. I have read that some people let the soil dry out in between watering, I don’t find this to be a big deal, you just want to prevent rotting soil if it doesn’t drain well enough. I use the lights to keep my plants alive during the winter and early spring months. I leave my plants indoors until I am out of the freezing season completely. I have my Jasminum Officinale under a minimum of 6 hours of light on dark winter days or rainy spring days. If the sun is out and the plants are near a window then I don’t run my light if I don’t need to! Most Jasmine will need around 40°F during the winter in order to produce flowers the following Spring. If you are having trouble getting blooms I would try to leave the Jasmine out unless it is going to hit the low 30’s. If it’s gonna be 35°F, I’d bring it in. If your Jasmine freezes to the ground, it might die, but wait to throw it out, it might come back from the root! Ideally we don’t want to have to grow our Jasmine back from root each year, so be vigilant to keep it protected from freezing!
I grow my Jasminum Officinale in a 1 gallon pot right now so that I could bring it in for the winter. I use regular dirt with some sand and compost mixed in. Because I plan on consuming many of the things I grow (including some of the Jasmine flowers) I do not fertilize my plants. I know there are some safe fertilizers available but I have yet to try them myself. I prefer to stay as natural as possible so if I can achieve blooms without the use of extra fertilizers then I’ll stick with it, and honestly, if you learn the science of compost you can achieve anything you can with store bought fertilizers!