Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. The first traditionally recognized herbalist, Shénnóng, is said to have lived around 2800 BC. There are roughly 13,000 medicinals used in China and over 100,000 medicinal recipes recorded in the ancient literature. In this blog post series, I highlight one Chinese herb and its healing properties: jasmine.
Love the scent of jasmine? Jasmine is a popular tropical plant and is known for its rich, intoxicatingly sweet scent. In the Philippines, for example, the jasmine vine variety known as sampaguita is a national symbol of love and romance.
Filipino lore has it that the plant grew out of a spot associated with a pair of famously star-crossed lovers. In warm climates, night blooming jasmine is often planted near porches and windows, so that the nearby rooms will be naturally flooded with scent. As a result of its relaxing properties, jasmine essential oil is often used in aromatherapy and spa techniques in the United States. However, Chinese traditional medicine also utilizes jasmine flowers in various therapeutic ways.
Jasmine and jasmine oil have been long used as both a personal scent and an herbal supplement. In Chinese tradition, for example, jasmine green tea is a very popular drink. Jasmine flowers are placed near green tea to allow the tea leaves to absorb the sweet smell of the flower petals. Jasmine green tea is recommended to improve liver function as well as decreasing stress and anxiety. Jasmine essential oil, too, is also known for its relaxing properties: it can be used to decrease stress, relieve headaches, and promote deeper breathing, for example.
You can experience the calming influence of jasmine by brewing yourself a relaxing cup of jasmine green tea or using a few drops of jasmine essential oil in your lotion or massage oil.