Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Moonshine in the Garden

The Moonshine in the Garden

Jasmine flowers have enjoyed great importance in the cultural history of both India and China on account of their pleasant fragrance and therapeutic properties.
It enjoys the status of national flower in a number of Asian countries including Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. ln Thailand, India and Syria, it is symbol of love and compassion. There are approximately 200 different species of jasmine native to China, north India and West Asia. The most important among them are Poet’s jasmine (Jasminum officinale L.) and Royal jasmine (Jas minum officinale L.)
Poet’s jasmine, also known as white jasmine, is native to the Himalayas in western China. The vine-like plant reaches a height of 10 meters, has ovate leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers that bloom in summer and fall.Royal jasmine, also known as Catalonian or Spanish jasmine, grows in a similar fashion, but has bigger flowers, shorter branches and leaves of a different size. This variety is valued for its fragrance and is the most extensively cultivated.
Jasmine is grown in France, Spain, Italy and several north African and middle eastern countries too. The reported life zone of (Jasminum officinale is 11 to 27 degrees centigrade. Poet’s jasmine is much more cold tolerant than royal jasmine.The plant can be grown on almost any soil type, with ample water supply and good sunlight. Full production begins after grafting in the second year. The flowers are borne in clusters in summer, and are picked in the early morning since they are the most fragrant at day- break. Those grown in higher altitudes are of a liner quality.

Jasmine oil

Jasmine essential oil is a highly valued aromatic, known for its effect as a relaxant, anti-depressant and aphrodisiac. The oil is extracted immediately after the flowers are collected by effleurage or the use of volatile sol- vents. The process to obtain high- quality oil is delicate and laborious. The benefits of this oil are due to the rich blend of phytochemicals including benzoic acid, benzaldehyde, creosol, eugenol, linalool and gamma terpineol. It is extensively used in the production of perfumes and incense. Jasmine oil is good for treating dry, irritated and sensitive skin, muscular spasm, sprain, depression, nervous exhaustion and other stress-related conditions. It is non toxic and does not cause any irritation, but it is not advisable to use the oil during pregnancy. In Ayurveda, jasmine oil is used for treating excessive thirst, aggravation of Pitha in the head. Mental illness, anger, etc. It is satvic in quality, and symbolises love and compassion.
Jasmine flowers have a blood cooling effect. With its anti bacterial, anti-viral and anti tumour action, they can also help in stopping bleeding. They strengthen the lymphatic system and are helpful in treating different kinds of cancer including breast cancer. The oil helps in relieving the effects of sunstroke, and is useful in treating fever. Jasmine flowers have astringent properties too, which aid in treating inflamed eyes and skin. It can be used as a gargle in case of sore throats and mouth ulcers. The whole flower is used to deal with the problem of worms in the intestine, and to treat jaundice and venereal diseases. The flower buds are used in treating ulcers, vesicles, boils, skin diseases and eye disorders. The leaf extracts act against breast tumour.
In aroma therapy, jasmine flowers are used to calm emotions, and as an aphrodisiac. They are a valuable remedy in cases of depression because they instil a feeling of confidence, optimism and euphoria. They can also revitalise and restore the balance of energy in the body. In China, one variety of jasmine is used to treat hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver and dysentery, and the flowers of another variety for conjunctivitis, dysentery, skin ulcers and tumors. The root is used to treat headache, insomnia, dislocated joints and rheumatism. It can also help when there is cough or difficulty in breathing.

Jasmine Cultivation

Jasmine stems should be planted during the June-November period. Plough the land first to remove weeds, then dig pits of 30-cm depth and fill them with manure. The plants should be kept at least eight feet apart from each other so that they grow into their full size. Fertilizers should be used every spring.
Younger plants should be tied with the stems for support. Tips of the plants should be pinched to stimulate lateral growth and frequent ping has to be done. If the vine is to be grown as a ground cover, the upward twining stems will need trimming. There is need for watering immediately after planting and also at an interval of seven to ten days. Stem cutting and sowing of seeds are the best methods for propagation of the plant.
• Mild fertilizers are required for best growth
• Temperature should be controlled
• Jasmine needs regular pinching and shaping to control growth
• If not planted at a proper distance, there will be crowding
• Containerised plants should be planted during fall
• Fully developed buds should be picked early in the morning


Family : Oleaceae
Species : Jasminum officinale
Persian name : Jasmine (gift from God)
Other names : Malathee or mallika (Sanskrit), Jati, Chameli(Hindi),Yasmine
Parts used : Flowers, roots and leaves
Dosha effect : Lowers kapha and Pitha; increases vata
Energetics : Bitter, astringent/cooling/ pungent
Dhatus : Plasma, blood, bone, marrow
Indications : Emotional disturbance, headache, fever, sunstroke, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, burning in Urethra, bleeding disorders, bacterial or viral infections, cancer of lymph nodes, bone cancer, Hodgkin’s disease
Action : It is a mild analgesic, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, Carminative, expectorant,as a tonic for The Uterus and has cicatrizing property.

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