Jasmine is a plant believed to have originated in the western Chinese Himalayas. The name is derived from the Persian yasmin, meaning “a gift from God,” because of the strong, pleasant scent of jasmine’s flowers. More than 300 species of jasmine exist, most of which are found in tropical and warm temperate climates.
The flowers of the plant can handle such purposes as cooking, bathing and creating a pleasant aroma. The plant is well known for its fragrance, its taste and its healing and uplifting properties. People in many parts of the world use jasmine as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, especially anxiety and digestive issues.
Studies conducted in Germany and published by the Journal of Biological Chemistry found that inhaling the scent of jasmine drastically calmed mice, causing them to stop doing anything and sit when their cage was filled with it.
The researchers discovered that jasmine oil molecules traveled from the lungs to the blood and then to the brain. The scent also boosted the effects of the chemical GAB on nerve cells, reducing anxiety and leading to rest.
After testing the effects of hundreds of fragrances on GABA receptors in both mice and humans, the researchers found that jasmine increased the GABA effect more than five times and had an effect just as strong as relaxants, sleeping pills and sedatives.
Because it has been shown to help reduce heart rate and bring about feelings of calm and relaxation, jasmine oil is often also used to treat insomnia.
Breathing in jasmine oil molecules is thought to transmit messages to the limbic system, an area in the brain that influences the nervous system and is involved with emotion control. Another study published in the Journal of Health Research found that participants who inhaled jasmine oil felt more energetic and positive.
Jasmine can be used to help resolve digestive issues, thanks to the impressive amount of antioxidants it has. The antioxidants help improve nutrient absorption and healthy bowels by interacting with gastrointestinal enzymes.
It also has antispasmodic properties, which make it helpful in relieving indigestion, stomach cramps and inflammation.
The plant promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut and helps eliminate harmful gut bacteria, which are responsible for common gastrointestinal disorders and can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The jasmine plant is useful for so much more than its pleasant aroma and satisfying taste. It could be just what the doctor ordered for any number of health issues.