Jasmine is one of the most expensive essential oils, and has been coined as the “King of Aromatics”. The Chinese called them ‘mo li’ and very often they used them for scenting tea. Jasminum officinale belong to the plant family of Oleaceae. They are cultivated in France, Italy, Morocco, Egypt and India. The oils are extracted by volatile solvents. The scent is intensely sweet and floral. Their chemical constituents are characterised by mostly esters (benzyl acetate, benzyl benzoate) and alcohols (linalol and phytols).
Figure 1. Caddy’s Colour Profile on Jasminum officinale
General physical actions are relaxing and euphoric. According to Nicholas Culpeper, it ‘warms the womb…and facilitates the birth; it is useful for cough, difficulty in breathing, etc. It disperses crude humours, and is good for catarrhous constitutions, but not for the hot’. In Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine, Jasminum officinale are known as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic drug, that when administered locally, can be effective to painful skin disease, acute mastitis (in pregnancy), earache, ophthalmitis, eye tumour, uterine pain, gastroenteritis and painful sores in the anal area. The jasmine essential oil, due to its chemical constituents, is sedative, anticonvulsant, decongestant, uterine tonic, oestrogenic, analgesic, antiseptic and cicatrisant. On the emotional level, it is anti-depressant, and produces a feeling of optimism, confidence and euphoria. It is most useful in the cases where there is apathy, listlessness and low libido. Too high dosage may cause headaches and nausea. It is advised to be cautious when applying to babies and pregnant women .
Global burden of infectious diseases caused by bacterial agents is a serious threat to public health. Antibiotic treatment is a preferred choice to treat bacterial infections. However, emergence of anti-microbial resistance and toxicity issues augment biological research on the anti-microbial role of plants, due to comparable toxicity and efficacy. A recent study (Usman Ali Khan et al, 2013) was undertaken to investigate Jasminum officinale for their potential activity against human bacterial pathogens. It was found that Jasminum officinale demonstrated variable antibacterial activity, with the conclusion that further photochemical analysis of these plants will be helpful for elucidation of novel antibacterial bioactive molecules.
Another study in 2015 by Shekhar using 8 varieties of Jasminum (Jasminum officinale inclusive) showed that all of them have antioxidant capacity, which could support traditional healers to treat various infective diseases. In ethanolic extract it was found that most of the samples showed better antioxidant activity when compared to the standard.
Apart from their antioxidant properties, Jasminum species have also been researched for their antiulcer activities. The study conducted by Umamaheswari et al (2006) was aimed at evaluating the antiulcer and antioxidant actives of 70% ethanolic extract of leaves of Jasminum grandiflorum L. The leaves of this species have a distinction of being used in Indian folk medicine for treating ulcers. The results suggest that leaves of such Jasminum species possess potential antiulcer activity, which may be attributed to their antioxidant mechanism of actions.
Jasminum officinale has been used for a long time in human history. They contain naturally occurring substances that will continue to have a crucial place in drug discovery. Current research have confirmed their valuable healing properties including their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antiulcer activities. It is believed that further investigations may help discover even more benefits for the human nation.
Ali Khan, U. et al. (2013) Antibacterial Activity of Some Medicinal Plants Against Selected Human Pathogenic Bacteria: European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology, vol 3, no 4: p. 272-274
Caddy, R. (1997) Essential Oils in Colour, Amberwood Publishing, England.
Culpeper, N. (1998) Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, Wordsworth Reference Series, Amberwood Publishing, England.
Hussain, M. et al. (2013) Comparative In vitro study of Antimicrobial Activities of Flower and Whole Plant of Jasminum Officinale Against Some Human Pathogenic Microbes: Journal of Pharmacy and Alternative Medicine, vol 2, no 4: p. 33-43
Mahdizadeh, S.; Ghadiri, M.K.; Gporji, A. (2015) Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine: a review of analgesics and anti-inflammatory substances: Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, vol 5, no 3: p. 182-202
Shekhar, S. and Prasad M.P. (2015) Comparative Analysis of Antioxidant Properties of Jasmine Species by Hydrogen Peroxide Assay: European Journal of Biotechnology and Bioscience, vol 3, no 2: p. 26-29
Tisserand, R. (1977) The Art of Aromatherapy, CW Daniel, Saffron Waldend, England.
Umamaheswari, M. et al. (2007) Antiulcer and In Vitro Antioxidant Activities of Jasminum Grandiflorum L.: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol 110: p. 464-460
 Tisserand, R. The Art of Aromatherapy 1977, p.237
 Caddy, R. Essential Oils in Colour 1997