Monday, February 18, 2013

And She Smelled Like Jasmine

The Grunge Oil Of Love!

Jasmine - also known as Jasminum officinale, Jasminum odoratissimum (Latin), Jessamine, Jati (Ayurvedic), Maalatie, Mallika, Muktaa, Muktamani, Mauktika (Sanskrit), Chameli, Juhie, Motiyaa (Hindi), Jaaie, Juie, Saayalie, Chamelie, Mogaraa (Marathi), Malligai (Tamil), Malle (Telugu).

Jasmine is a genus of shrubs and vines native to warm and tropical regions of Asia, Africa and Europe. Jasmine is cultivated all over the world as a garden or house plant, and for its flowers - which are worn by women in Asia and used in the creation of jasmine tea and jasmine essential oil.[1]
The scent of Jasmine has long been considered to be one of the most significant aphrodisiac scents and it is widely used in perfumes and incense manufacture. [1]
It's even said that owners of elephants put jasmine oil (or jasmine flowers) on them in order to arouse them when they wish to assist them in reproducing. Whether Jasmine has some actual aphrodisiac effect on the animals, or whether this is anthropomorphosis, is something that is unlikely to have been researched scientifically. However, what is known is that women both use Jasmine oil as an alluring scent and wear Jasmine flowers for their beauty and fragrance. [2]

Jasmine essential oil

Pure Jasmine essential oil is very expensive - and the buyer should be aware that some fragrances sold as "Jasmine" may contain or be entirely made from synthetic imitations, other essential oils or other fragrances. The first stage in investigation to be to ascertain whether the product is 100% pure Jasmine flower essential oil, or 100% pure Jasmine absolute. If it does not say that it is, it quite probably is not.
The creation of Jasmine essential oil is an interesting process. As with other flowers such as Rose, it takes a huge amount of petals to make a small amount of oil. Also, the flowers are gathered after dark because the scent of the jasmine flower is more powerful at night.
In modern times, most essential oils are either cold pressed or extracted using steam distillation. Steam is passed through plant matter and then condensed and collected. However, with Jasmine, these methods are not used because the delicate fragrance of Jasmine is denatured by the high temperature of steam distillation. Jasmine oil is either extracted using chemical (solvent) extraction or (traditionally) by enfleurage[1] Enfleurage is an ancient, labour-intensive process using animal fat to absorb the fragrance of the flowers. It was once the only method of extracting the fragrance from the flowers. Nowadays, another method used is chemical extraction.[3]

Jasmine flowers
Some varieties of Jasmine can be used to create absolutes - similar to essential oils but more concentrated. These are created using solvent extraction using an organic solvent such as hexane - and in some ways, due to the lower temperatures required, this method preserves the delicate fragrance more closely. However, solvent extraction has come under criticism because it leaves trace amounts of solvent in the absolute. The "notes" (fragrant markers) of these are detectable by experts. Absolutes are considered inappropriate for aromatherapy as there are possible health concerns: If they were included in massage oil, they would be absorbed by the skin. However, for perfume use absolutes are considered acceptable; the overall effect on the fragrance is less undesirable than that caused by high temperature processing. [4]
The first stage of extraction yields what is called oleoresin or concrete - which in a mixture of essential oil, waxes and resins. Another solvent such as alcohol (ethyl alcohol) is used to separate the fragrant oils from the non-fragrant waxes. The alcohol is then removed, leaving only the absolute. Around one pound of concrete is able to be created from 1000 pounds of Jasmine flowers. [5]
Another fascinating method of extraction uses supercritical carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide under high pressure) to create the concrete, and then liquid carbon dioxide to separate the essential oils from the waxes. Supercritical carbon dioxide is carbon dioxide that is at a temperature and pressure exceeding 31 degrees C and 73 atmospheres pressure. This substance has both liquid and gas-like properties. By controlling the temperature and pressure, the solvent quality can be "tuned" in order to imitate the solubility characteristics of a wide range of solvents. In other words, a very complete extraction of all fractions can be achieved. [6]
This method is said to be the best - it has the benefit that it does not leave chemical residues, and does not cause thermal degradation of the oils. At the end of the process, the carbon dioxide simply evaporates. [7] This method also has potential environmental benefits in that hazardous or toxic solvents are not required.

Jasmine - History

The name Jasmine is derived from the old Persian Yasmin which means "gift from God" [1] - or, according to another source, the name Yasmin is a reference to aphrodisiac quality. [5] Jasmine has been in use in fragrance and as a decorative flower since ancient times.
Jasminum varieties Indicum, Solanum, Mexicanum, rubrum, luteum, album and variegatum are mentioned in Ludovico Jungerman's 1635 Catalogus plantarum quae in horto medico Altdorphino reperiuntur [8] ("Catalog of plants which are found in the medical garden of Altdorphinus")

Is Jasmine an Aphrodisiac?

In aromatherapy and fragrance, Jasmine is used for mood elevation, exotic scent and for its aphrodisiac effect. It's hard to find scientific research to validate these things - but if something has been used as a component in perfumery for thousands of years, it is because it allures, entices and excites passion. You'll probably never get science to admit it - but generations of women can't be wrong...

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