Throughout history, people have attributed special meanings or symbolism to flowers. The practice came into full bloom during the Victorian era, when the language of flowers was most popular. Speaking through flower symbolism was especially prevalent between romantic couples because open public communication was not allowed in polite society. Today, many flowers still carry those meanings with them, including the jasmine flower.
For thousands of years, the jasmine plant has been cultivated not only for the beauty of its small, white, star-like flowers, but it has also been prized for its intoxicating scent. Originating in the foot hills of the Himalayas and Ganges plains, the plant was cultivated and brought to India, China, the Middle East and other regions. From there, it spread into France, Italy and the Mediterranean, and eventually it was introduced to the rest of Western Europe and Britain. Today, jasmine is grown and cultivated all over the world in its many varieties.
Origin of the Name
The name jasmine comes from the Persian word "yasmin," which means "fragrant flower." The name Jasmine is also used as a girl's name, meaning "God's gift." The scientific name is Jasminum Officinale.
Since jasmine has been cultivated all over the world for its flowers and scent, there are different varieties, and each type of jasmine is associated with different meanings.
Because of its attractive scent, the white, or Indian, jasmine symbolizes attachment and sensuality. The white flower of jasmine can also represent amiability and modesty. Yellow jasmine is associated with grace and elegance, while the variety known as Spanish jasmine also represents sensuality.
In India, jasmine flowers are given as religious offerings as a symbol of divine hope, and the flowers are sometimes used in religious ceremonies.
The most obvious use for jasmine is for its scent, whether in landscapes and gardens or in perfumes. Women of various southeast Asian cultures use the flowers in their hair for their beautiful fragrance. In China, jasmine has been used for tea for centuries, and some cultures believe drinking jasmine tea daily can prevent diseases such as cancer. In aromatherapy, jasmine is thought to be an antidepressant and to promote relaxation while helping with fatigue and tension. The scent is often used in incenses and massage oils, and some cultures believe when jasmine is burned or worn, it will attract spiritual love, wealth, money and prophetic dreams.
The scent of the jasmine flower is most potent at night, when it releases its scent into the cooler night air.