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Jasmin Sambac 2

Jasmin sambac 2

Yet my heart is sweet with the memory of the first fresh jasmines
that filled my hands when I was a child.
Rabindranath Tagore: "The First Jasmines" from The Crescent Moon, 1913 "

Rabindaranath's poem, "First Jasmines's," captures in a most elegant and succinct way, the emotion which arises in the Indian heart when this flower(Jasminum sambac) is inhaled. Innocense, sweetness and purity are considered key inner emotions which the flower's essence is capable of awakening in those who let its aroma penetrate into the center of the brain which registers olfactory impressions. When we seek to understand fragrance within a cultural context, we need to carefully consider a world which is almost entirely different than our own for wisdom and knowledge. There can be no doubt that when any body of wisdom whether it be East or West is pursued to its depths that one may find certain universal links but the outer form which it takes is almost always unique to a particular time and place. Indian culture in all its richness and variety, has a long tradition of passing down wisdom in a non-verbal way and the symbols used to convey very powerful messages have a history which is often thousands of years old. Fragrant flowers have been at the very core of religious worship since ancient times and these fragile, colorful and aromatic gems of the botanical world carry with them potent messages which can be understood by the person of highest intellect or the simplest country farmer. Family and community, even to this day, are very strong in India, and the teaching of this subtle language begins at a very early age and carries with it countless generations of power and meaning. When a simple Jasmine flower is held in the hand, or when it is placed about the neck in the form of a garland or it is strung in the long black tresses of Indian women it speaks a fragrant language to those hearts which is exquistely profound because it resonates without any need for recourse to spoken word and links the individual with a devotional attitude which encompasses millions of souls both past and present."

Images of Jasminum sambac-
nice line drawing
closeup of flower
nice image of single blossom
http://www.plantranchco.com/Photos/PR_PhotoDetails.asp? ProductNO=746
whole plant
Jasmin sambac garlands
Jasmin sambac hair ornament

Technical Description of Jasminum sambac
Jasminum sambac (Linnaeus) Aiton, Hort. Kew. 1: 8. 1789. ÜÔÀò»¨ mo li hua Nyctanthes sambac Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 6. 1753. Shrubs erect or scandent, to 3 m. Branchlets terete or slightly compressed, sometimes hollow, sparsely pubescent. Leaves opposite, simple; petiole 2-6 mm, articulate, pubescent; leaf blade orbicular to elliptic or obovate, 4-12.5 ? 2-7.5 cm, papery, glabrous except for tufted hairs at vein axils abaxially, both ends blunt, sometimes base subcordate; primary veins 4-6 on each side of midrib. Cymes terminal, (1 or)3(or 5)-flowered; bracts subulate, 4-8 mm. Flowers very fragrant. Pedicel 0.3-2 cm. Calyx glabrous or sparsely pubescent; lobes 8-9, linear, 5-7 mm. Corolla white; tube 0.7-1.5 cm; lobes oblong to suborbicular, 5-9 mm broad. Berry purple-black, globose, ca. 1 cm in diam. Fl. May-Aug, fr. Jul-Sep. 2n = 26*.

"The tiny white flowers of the Arabian jasmine beam shyly in the night. Borne on new twigs, they display their purity from June to September before the first frost. Each flower lasts 12-20 hours The flower buds begin to open at dusk, climaxing between 9 and 10 o'clock at night."
China's Rare Flowers Wang Jiaxi and MaYue

Jasminum sambac is usually accepted as commercial jasmine which is a shrub. There are three types in jasminum sambac. (1) Single flowered Arabian jasmine. This is the most commercial type, which bears flowers profusely. (2) Semi double type of jasmine called Dontara Malle. (3) The fully double small flowered Arabian jasmine (Boddu Male) also called as the grand duke of Tuscany. http://www.aphorti.com/Jasmine.htm

Jasmine Harvest
As the sun begins to rise in this ancient land, we approached one of the small, immaculate farms that grace this rural district. A small farm house nestled amidst well-tended fields of sugar cane, bananas, coconuts, and jasmine. The cool air was filled with the ethereal aroma of newly opened jasmine buds and the farmer's family was moving through the new days crop with deftness and precision collecting the delicate blossoms before the heat dissipated their(the flowers) concentrated fragrance. Men, women and children all joined together to work in the fields, to collect a crop that would bring them added income to preserve their rural lifestyles. The simple beauty of their faces, the clear sparkle in their eyes, and the grace and balance of their movements as they gather this fragile crop, all appeal to my inner sensibilities. There are no disturbing, jarring elements here, only the profound beauty of the land and her people working together to produce crops which satisfy both body and soul. In fact, one might argue that the farming community are the only ones who really get the real essence of the jasmine because the odor emitted by the living flower can never be fully captured in the absolute or essential oil. There are certain extremely volatile molecules that disappear once the flower is plucked. The absolute does approach that fragrance but it can only capture the memory of what occurs when one is totally surrounded by the timeless beauty of rural India with gentle, cool breezes blowing and birds singing their own unique praises to that pure Power which sustains all life in the creation.

Yield of Fresh Flowers
The yield of flowers per hectare in 2500 - 3000 kg in sambac (i.e about 200 g/bush) and 3000 - 4000 kg/ha,in climber (Jatimalli i.e 200 - 250 g/vine).Since the jasmine flowers are highly perishable and have to be disposed off in the market within few hours after picking.

Yield of Absolute from Fresh Flowers
"When we stop to consider how many flowers is required to produce one kilo of Jasmin sambac absolute I think our whole understanding of the precious nature of the oil changes. Simply put it takes over 8 million blossoms of delicate jasmin flowers to produce 1 kilo of Jasmin sambac absolute. Each blossom must be carefully harvested by hand so as not to bruise the flower when plucking it. Bruised flowers will produce unpleasant off notes in the absolute and no good extractor will permit such material to be used in the preparation of the concrete. Since 1 kilo of oil consists of 1000 grams, it means that it requires 8000 individual blossoms to produce one gram of absolute. Now suppose a kilo of superb quality Jasmin sambac absolute costs from $1700-$2500 per kilo(this is roughly the range which one sees for this product) it means that 1 gram of absolute costs $1.70-$2.50. Breaking it down further we can find 1 gram of absolute contains about 25 drops which means that the per drop cost is 7.5-10 cents per drop. When we consider this price we must also remember that the actual harvesting of the flowers is only one step in the care of the plant. There is the pruning, cultivation of the soil, fertilizing, spraying, watering, etc. Many months of hard work go into caring for the plant before it can produce its blooms, during which time all sorts of natural calamaties can occur like disease, drought, flood, excessive heat or cold, etc. We need, as consumers, to remind ourselves again and again that it is a true miracle that such wonderful essences are still available and that we need to do our part to support the people and places where such work is still going on. Actually when I have stopped to really think this thing through, it seems impossible that such a precious and wonderful oil could be offered at such a reasonable price. It is only because the Indian farmers lead such simple lives that it becomes possible for us to enjoy and use in creative wholistic ways these exquisite products of nature."Christopher's India Journals

Jasmin sambac in the culture of Myanmar But the sabai in Myanmar is valued not so much for these prosaic qualities as for its symbolic qualities of purity, nobility and of course, for its elusive yet alluring scent. To look at, the individual sabai bloom is a rather modest white flower with single or multi-layered petals which may be rounded or pointed. But they are either made into small posies or threaded together to make a garland. The choicest are offered to the Buddha image of the family shrine. The garlands are twined around the Buddha image or offered on a small three-legged lacquer stand called "Kalat".
Then comes the turn of the ladies of the household. Dainty strands of Jasmine are looped around a Myanmar hair-knot either on the nape of the neck or on the more formal "sadone"(cylindrical top-knot) adding grace and elegance to the wearer. In days gone by when "sadones" were the fashion rather than the exception, the ladies used to loop strands of sabai bud at the base of the cylindrical hair-knot. Myanmar girls especially love to wear a band of sabai flowers around the top of the head after their hair has been shampood and is left in a cascade of black down the back to dry. The sabai strands leave a tintillating trace of its scent when the hair dries.
Sabai blooms, because of their pristine whiteness and fragrance are also considered, auspicious flowers . At formal wedding receptions the bride and groom are garlanded with sabai by a married couple held in high esteem by their respective families - esteemed for their long happy marriage as well as worldly success. Visiting dignitaries are also often greeted with sabai garlands.
The "Sabai" has been a source of inspiration for anonymous composers of rural folk songs as well as poets royal. In one of the folk songs, a damsel transplanting rice shoots, replies in verse to the advances of a would - be suitor saying that she already has a lover; she sings, "The white jasmine in my hair is for the adornment of another". And the latecomer bemoans the fact in song. "The spray of jasmine buds turns away and opportunity is gone." Nat Shin Naung, whose romantic ardour for the much older Princess Datu Kalya inspired many of his odes and poems wrote: "The fragrant sabai of tiny,dainty blossoms is much cherished and desired. Regretfully, I am unable to choose each delicate blossom and adorn your hair with my own loving hands." He was mourning the fact that he was away on military duty which made it impossible to adorn his love's hair with the sabai of the season. When a girl or lady allows a member of the opposite sex to pin a flower in her hair, it is a sign of acquiescence to his amorous approaches. U Ponnya renowned royal poet of the late Konbaung Period was another poet who found the sabai irresistible. He extolled the sabai as the flower of the royal palace. He wrote that other lesser flowers have to make way once the sabai is in full season.
The sabai in all varieties is distributed widely throughout the country and is the flower known by one and all. Because they grow so easily and bloom profusely, most gardens have at least one or two bushes. It is also commercially grown. They cost far less than orchids or roses and are less prone to fungus, disease, or insects such as aphids. Sabai flowers, in posies, garlands or heaped on a bamboo tray are sold in all pagodas and bazaars. The flowers sold at pagoda flower stalls, are strictly for offering to the Lord Buddha. We Myanmar Buddhists usually make a wish "May we be as cool as water and as fresh as flowers" after offering water and flowers at a pagoda or shrine.
But sabai is a favourite flower offering because of its fragrance. Sabai flowers are also sold at roadsides and crossroads by young boys who wish to earn extra money before or after school, much in the manner of boys on newspaper rounds in the west. The money they earn help supplement the family income or pay for books and stationary. The sabai flowers sold at roadsides or cross roads are usually bought by motorists who loop the garlands on the rearview mirror as offering to the Buddha or to a 'Nat' guardian spirit. Some boys pick the flowers in the evening and go round residential areas calling out enchanting or catchy phrases such as "Sabai Kyet Yon, beautiful and fragrant" or "The great Sabai O-boke is available, the best from Dawei". Sometimes their voices echo in the late evening through falling rain which make them difficult to resist and ignore. The flowers are fresh and fragrant and one wishes to help out with a few kyats, a youth who will brave the night and weather to help his family and himself. Sabai flower are exquisite yet inexpensive. Any one can afford them and are worn by women, rich or poor, high or low. Moreover sabai, is not only a beautiful fragrant flower to earn merit at the pagoda or to adorn a pretty girl. It is an income earner - a friend of the rich as well as the poor.

Sampaguita (Jasminium sambac) (Family Oleaceae)
The Sampaguita is the national flower of the Philippines. It is a symbol of purity, simplicity, humility and strangth. Its blossom is celebrated in Philippine legends, stories and songs. The fragrant flower is white and shape like a star. It grows either as a single blossom or in clusters at the tips of branches. The sampaguita plant is a woody vine or shrub that grows to about 4 ft high. The first sampaguita came from India. Sampaguita buds are made into garlands and bouquets.

Jasmin sambac in culture of Javanese People
The existence of the jasmine flower is described comprehensively in the script called Siwaratrikalpa (old Javanese literature) composed by Mpu Tanakung. He composed this around XV AD when Adi Suprabawa governed the Majapahit kingdom, East Java. This flower was called Œmenur¹ in this script. It also stated that jasmine has already existed in Indonesia since XV AD and this is a good flower to worship Ciwa in the new moon of the seventh month or the month of Magha. This is the holy night to worship Ciwa to wipe out one¹s sin. Magha comes once a year or every 420 days according to the Balinese calendar. The Ciwa worshippers use jasmine flowers in their offerings. It is believed that this flower brings forgiveness and blessing and eventually they will be able to be united with Ciwa in heaven.
The Jasmine flower is called by different names in Indonesia or Bali such as; menur, melur, menuh, melati and melate. There are two kinds of jasmine flower: 1) the double flower; and 2) the single flower. The double flower is bigger than the single one but less fragrant. This plant belongs to the shrub type but may reach up to 3 meters in height and grows well at 600 meters above sea level. In Javanese weddings, this flower is commonly used for hair and dagger decorations for the bride and the groom. On the contrary it is not used in Balinese weddings. In Bali other flowers are used for the wedding such as the yellow and white Champak flower including Kenanga. The Jasmine flower can also be used to cure fevers as well as to flavor tea or to make perfume. In Bali this flower is not planted extensively. People plant this in themain temples or the family temples. Jasmine is a good flower to use as a medium of praying to worship the god Iswara. The colour of this god is white and locatedin the east. This flower is also used for the big ceremonies such as Tawur Agung - the ceremony to bless the whole world.--Ngurah Oka Supartha

Cooking / Food uses
Used in tea, liqueurs, dairy deserts, candy, puddings

Comparative olfactory analysis of Jasminum sambac and Jasminum grandiflorum absolute
"As this world began to unfold for me, I did begin to take notice that Indian people were lovers in fragrance in many different forms. Food was cooked with aromatic spices, balsamic incense was constantly being burned to create a nice atmosphere, garlands strung with highly aromatic flowers were woven to celebrate religious and social occasions, along with many other fragrant traditions which lent a simple elegance to everyday and special occasion life. Perhaps the most widely used of all the exotic flowers was Jasmin sambac and without realizing it, I began to imbibe a wonderful dimension of Indian culture simply by inhaling the aroma of this simple yet elegant flower whose floral bouquet consists of many "themes" all distinct yet interconnected. In giving an account of this essence I know my words will fall short but some attempt must be made which can be supplemented at a later time by people more adept at this type of description.
The opening notes of Jasmin sambac impress me as being heavy and sweet with a richness and depth that immediately draw one into the realm of profound mystery. The first impression of Jasmin grandiflorum is by my estimation, much more soft and sweet, in a sense more ethereal and light. As the essence of Jasmin sambac unfolds it reveals a sultry exotic warmth as if it was a vessel in which the rays of the tropical full moon were condensed and these rays were in turn transmuted into invisible fragrant exudations. The buds, in fact, open around 11 PM and the fullness of the odor permeates the atmosphere in darkest hours of the night. The warmth and sweetness of Jasmin grandiflorum on the other hand, is the gentle warmth of a fresh morning with buds softly opening to greet the beauty of the new day. They seem to be a crucible opening their elegant petals from which soft gentle aromatic light rays flow. The time of their unfolding is just before dawn and their ethereal perfume is at its peak just as the sun rises. As the aromatic theme of Jasmin sambac develops, one can detect very pronounced fruity notes intermingling with ones shared with the orange flower complex. It is truly the "Queen of the Night".
As Jasmin grandiflorum resides into her base notes, one can pick up refined herbaceous, fruity notes which sometimes remind one of aromatic tea. I would call Jasmin grandiflorum, "Queen of the Dawn". Fragrance can act as a superb means of cultural transmission if that particular flower is a part of the inner heritage of the country where it is found growing. In this regard, I do think that the essences of flowers coming from different localities in the world can produce a "connection" with other times and places if we allow them to "act" upon us without to much interference from our rational mind.(Easier said than done!!!) http://members.aol.com/parijata/jasmin.html

Details of Production of Jasmin sambac Absolute, Jasmin sambac Attar, Jasmin enfleurage(traditional Indian style) can be found at:

"There is something about jasmine that captures with special intensity the incandescence and luminosity, the simplicity and innocence of childhood. Is it its starlike whiteness? Is it the trembling delicacy of its blossom hovering over its stem and leaves almost like a dream? Is it its ephemeral beauty, its long-lasting sweet fragrance, its generous yielding of flowers every single day of summer? Whatever it is, there¹s something about the jasmine that takes me to places where I have to leave words behind, to the places where I have left my childhood, places that continue to invade my dreams  in the setting of my earliest memories. In my past. There, there is jasmine; plenty of it; in abundance; in profusion. I grew up with it. The hot summer sun. Dust in the air. And suddenly, the jasmine. Like fresh snow; like a mind untainted by questions. Like certainty." Farzaneh Milani, Iranian author