It’s dawn in a field, and a group of women, heads covered and bent, are quietly enveloped in an invisible cloud of perfume. They are picking tiny white stars, the fragile blooms of jasmine grandiflora, each bathed in a soft Nile dew and each a minute fraction of what will eventually be a soft pile of precious jasmine absolute, to be sent to eager buyers the world over.
It’s nothing new. For eons, Egypt has been the source of most of the world’s jasmine. Some of the oldest jasmine gardens are in the sight line of the great pyramids of Gaza. It’s quite something to think that the skills for extracting aromatic oils from a profusion of flowers, leaves and roots has been passed from elder to child in an ancient lineage stretching back to the time of the pharaohs.
A queen at 17, Cleopatra is said to have tucked balls of aromatic jasmine wax into her mane of dark hair. She was on to something…
Those quiet women harvesting in the dark hours, then and now, must pick millions of blossoms for the resulting perfume… it takes almost 900 pounds of flowers to make just 2 pounds of jasmine essence. That’s 2 ½ million flowers, each picked by hand.
Gather up some shekels (countless hand picked blossoms aren’t cheap) and go out of your way to find a tiny bottle of the aromatic essence of these night-blooming flowers. Close your eyes, breathe it in.
The sweetness offered up is seductive and voluptuous. Jasmine is the most exotic and uplifting of all of the flowers. Her fragrance is intensely rich, warm, heady and floral. You may notice waves of sensuality in your body as you experience it… it isn’t called an aphrodisiac for nothing!
In addition to its erotic powers, jasmine is known to gently lift dark moods, deepen breathing and easing childbirth. It’s associated with water and the moon, good images to meditate on in the jasmine-bath you can take tonight.
Here are four ways to experiment with beautiful jasmine. Take note of how you feel when you’re using these potions… slowing down to really notice and appreciate their impact is the key to reaping their fragrant harvest.
1. Sprinkle 10 drops into your bathwater when tub is full, light a few candles, and float away.
2. Make a soul-nourishing sensual blend with equal parts ylang ylang complete, jasmine, rose absolute and sustainable sandalwood – use as bath oil, perfume or in a lamp-warmer in your bedroom tonight.
3. Give someone you love a treat: create a beautiful massage oil with four drops jasmine, two drops bergamot and two drops clary sage in one ounce of sweet almond oil
4. Waft through a room with a balanced blend of sandalwood, patchouli and jasmine worn as a sensual perfume… it’s powerful, so use sparingly!
Written by Susan Griffin-Black, EO’s co-CEO