Facts and benefits of Cape jasmine

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Cape Jasmine Quick Facts
Name: Cape Jasmine
Scientific Name: Gardenia jasminoides
Origin Asia and is most commonly found growing wild in Vietnam, Southern China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Myanmar, India and Bangladesh
Colors Initially green turning to yellow to red at maturity
Shapes Berrylike, ellipsoid to ovoid, 2.5-4.5 cm long by 1.5-2 cm, crowned by persistent calyx
Taste Bitter
Health benefits Beneficial for fever, inflammation of the eyes, tinnitus, jaundice, epistaxis, sore throat, viral hepatitis, febrile diseases, ophthalmia, hemoptysis, bloody stools, dysuria, burns, boils and impetigo
Gardenia jasminoides, commonly called common gardenia or Cape jasmine, is an evergreen flowering plant of the coffee family Rubiaceae. The plant is native to Asia and is most commonly found growing wild in Vietnam, Southern China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Myanmar, India and Bangladesh. The plant has got several common names including common gardenia, garden gardenia, cape jasmine, cape Jessamine, Danh Danh, Fleur Jaune, Gardênia, Gardenia, Gardenia augusta, Gardenia florida, Gardenia jasminoides, Gardénia Jasminoïdes, Gardenia radicans, Jasmin, Jasmin Do Cabo, Jasmin du Cap, Varneria augusta and Zhi Zi. The generic name Gardenia is named in honor of Alexander Garden (1730-1791) of Charleston, South Carolina who was a botanist, zoologist, physician, and correspondent to John Ellis, zoologist, and Carolus Linnaeus, who planned the classification of genus/species we presently used today. Specific epithet means like jasmine.

With its shiny green leaves and heavily fragrant white summer flowers, it is extensively used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates, and as a houseplant in temperate regions. It has been in cultivation in China for at least a thousand years, and was introduced to English gardens in the mid-18th century. Many varieties have been produced for horticulture, with low-growing, and large, and long-flowering forms.

Plant Description

Cape jasmine is a smooth, unarmed, perennial, evergreen, woody shrub that grows about 6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m) tall with almost equal spread. Roots are quite strong.  Stem is up to 10 cm in diameter and is usually much branched with greyish bark. The plant is found growing in thickets, forests at stream sides, on mountain slopes, on hills, or in valleys and fields. The plant prefers well-drained, fertile, friable soil with high organic matter. The plant is salt intolerant and somewhat drought tolerant. Leaves are opposite, elliptic– ovate, 5–15 cm long and 2-7 cm wide acuminate or obtuse and cuneate at the base, glossy green, smooth and short petioled, 0.2–0.5 cm long. Stipules are large, tubular and obliquely opened on one side.

Flowers and Fruits

Flowers are large, solitary in the axils of the upper leaves, sub-sessile and very fragrant. Calyx is 5-8-lobed, persistent corolla white, later yellowish, tube is 3 cm long, lobes 5-8, spreading; anthers as many as corolla lobes, linear and sessile. Ovary is inferior, style long and stigmas are capitate. Fertile flowers are followed by leathery, ovoid or ellipsoid berries that are 2.5-4.5 cm long and 1.5-2 cm wide, 5-ribbed, crowned with the persistent calyx. The fruits are initially green turning to yellow to red at maturity, containing numerous discoid seeds with tuberculate testa.

Recommended varieties

1. Gardenia jasminoides ‘Belmont’

It is densely bushy plant and bears large, fragrant, many petaled, white flowers that turn cream colored as they age. This variety is often sold as cut flowers by florists.

2. Gardenia jasminoides ‘Fortuniana’ (Gardenia jasminoides ‘Florida’)

It is a less bushy plant with medium size, rather waxy, snowy-white, many petaled flowers that turn yellowish with age.

3. Gardenia jasminoides ‘Veitchii’

It has a dense growth and medium size, many petaled flowers which normally remain pure white. This variety can be brought into flower in early winter by dis-budding (having their flower buds picked off at an early stage) throughout summer and early autumn.

4. Gardenia jasminoides ‘White Gem’

It is a dwarf variety reaching only 60cm (24 inch) tall. It is one of the most common species of Gardenia for growing indoors.

5. Gardenia jasminoides ‘Radicans’

It has an upright form, making it a favorite for shaping a gardenia tree. It is perfect for creating a Gardenia bonsai.

Health benefits of Cape jasmine tea

Listed below are some of the well-known benefits of consuming Cape jasmine tea

1. Alleviate Restlessness and Irritability

Cape jasmine tea can be used for yin deficiency disorders, which include irritability, restlessness, sensations of tightness in the chest and insomnia. It is also used in formulas to treat anxiety and insomnia. Menopause can cause these symptoms, and menopausal women can also consume Cape jasmine tea to alleviate related symptoms, such as depression, headaches and dizziness. As with all herbal remedies, a physician should be referred prior to using Cape jasmine tea to treat health disorders.

2. Urinary Treatment

Cape jasmine is often used in Chinese herbal formulas to treat bladder infections and painful urinary dysfunction resulting from damp-heat syndrome, which distracts the function of the bladder, according to the Institute for Traditional Medicine. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, but there is no Western scientific research available that supports the use of Cape jasmine for these health disorders.

Traditional uses and benefits of Cape jasmine

  • Cape jasmine has been used for centuries as a traditional oriental herbal remedy.
  • Leaves and fruit possess analgesic, antibacterial, antifebrile, demulcent, cholagogic and diuretic properties.
  • They are used in treating fever, inflammation of the eyes, tinnitus, jaundice, epistaxis, sore throat, viral hepatitis, febrile diseases, ophthalmia, hemoptysis, bloody stools, dysuria, burns, boils and impetigo.
  • Cape jasmine fruit is used in folkloric traditional medicine as anti-phlogistic, diuretic, laxative and choleretic and for treatment of hepatic and inflammatory diseases and for hemostatic purposes in the treatment of trauma by external application.
  • In China the smaller fruit are used for fevers, fluxes, dropsies, lung diseases and jaundice.
  • Larger fruit is more particularly used externally, the pulp being applied to swellings and to injuries and to such ailments as wine-nose, dog bite, slight burns and scalds.
  • An infusion of the flowers is used as an emollient and as an anti-ophthalmic in China.
  • Poultice of pounded fresh leaves is effective for wounds, phlegmon and acute conjunctivitis.
  • Wee and Hsuan reported that the fruits are used as a remedy for vomiting of blood, bleeding, jaundice, acute gonorrhea, sores, boils, abscesses and inflammation.
  • Seeds are used also for jaundice, rheumatism and twisted muscles.
  • Flowers and roots are used to regulate blood flow, to control bleeding and to increase menstrual flow.
  • Cape jasmine fruit is a common drug used in folk medicine; it is used for treating jaundice, insomnia with restlessness, eye inflammation, tinnitus, dysuria, bloody stools, epistaxis and hemoptysis and useful for relief of sprains and bruises in Vietnam.
  • Poultice of pounded leaves is used for conjunctivitis.
  • Decoction of G. jasminoides, Adenosma glutinosum and Plumeria acutifolia bark is administered for viral hepatitis in Vietnam.
  • For jaundice and febrile diseases with restlessness, a decoction of G. jasminoides, Phellodendron amurense and Glycyrrhiza uralensis is used orally.
  • For Haemoptysis and hematemesis, a salty decoction of Gardenia fruit, Sophora japonica and Pueraria thomsonii is given orally.
  • For burning sensation in the head, ophthalmia, tinnitus and epistaxis, a decoction of Gardenia fruit and Cassia tora is taken orally.
  • For hemoptysis and epistaxis, Gardenia fruit and Imperata cylindrical decoction is used.
  • Poultice of pounded fruit is applied topically for sprains and bruises.
  • For burns, carbonized Cape jasmine fruit is powdered, mixed with egg albumin and made into a paste for external application.
  • Charred, powdered fruit is blown into nostrils for epistaxis.
  • Leaves are used in poultices and applied to swollen breasts and used for headache in Malaysia.
  • Leaves and roots are used internally; the leaves are crushed with sugar to cure fever and the roots for fever with delirium.
  • Lotion for cooling the heads of children is prepared by boiling Cape jasmine and Acacia myriophylla.
  • Fruit is emetic, stimulant and diuretic and is considered a cooling remedy.
  • They are used for jaundice, for kidney and lung complaints.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Cape jasmine

  • Jaundice: Grind dried Gardenia. Take one teaspoon powder with lukewarm water.
  • Rheumatism: Take one teaspoon powder of Gardenia Seeds twice a day.
  • Fever: Make a decoction using bark of Gardenia. Drink 10 ml thrice a day.
  • Dysentery: Drink bark decoction of Gardenia twice a day.
  • Urinary Problems: Add 2 g bark powder of Gardenia in a cup of warm water. Drink it twice a day.
  • Abdominal Pain: Boil 10 g Gardenia bark in 500 ml water. Store. Drink 5 ml thrice a day.
  • Flatulence: Grind dried root of Gardenia to make powder. Take quarter tsp. with a cup of warm water.
  • Headache: Heat few leaves of Gardenia. Use them as poultice on Forehead.
  • Flu: Take flower, root and leaves of Gardenia. Boil and strain. Drink 30 ml of the decoction twice a day.
  • Palpitation: Crush 10 g each of flowers and leaves of Gardenia. Boil them in 100 ml water. Drink a cup of it when symptoms arise.
  • Ascaris: Extract juice from fruit of Gardenia. Take 1 tsp. once a day.
  • Burns: Crush fruit of Gardenia to make paste. Apply it over Burn.
  • Jaundice: Make a decoction of Rhubarb root, Water Plantain leaves, Gardenia fruit and Knot grass leaves. Take it twice a day.
  • Dysuria: Prepare a decoction of Herba Plantaginis seed, Akebia Vine stem, and Gardenia fruit. Take it twice a day.

Dosing considerations for Cape jasmine

The appropriate dose of Cape jasmine depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for gardenia. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Culinary Uses

  • An edible yellow dye is obtained from the fruit and is used for coloring food in China, Japan and Korea.
  • Yellow dye is used for coloring bean curd in Guangzhou in China.
  • Dye is used to color boiled beans, fish eggs, hot cakes, sweets, liquor, noodles, candies, ices and imitation crab in Japan.
  • Gardenia yellow dye is used in making yellow mung bean jelly called ‘hwangpomuk’ in Korea.
  • ‘Hwangpomuk’ is a noted staple food of Namwon and also Jeonju (both cities in the North Jeolla Province, Korea), where it is a common ingredient of Jeonju-style bibimbap in the Jeolla cuisine.
  • Jelly is commonly served in small chunks seasoned with vinegar, soy sauce and other condiments; this side dish is called hwangpomuk-muchim.
  • Mild sweet Gardenia blossoms are edible and used dried or fresh to impart fragrance to jasmine tea in the Far East.
  • This tea is reported beneficial to people with hepatitis.
  • Fresh Gardenia flowers can be tucked into a tin of tea to scent the tea.
  • Blossoms tucked into rice, oats or sago will impart the same mild sweet fragrance.
  • Gardenia flowers can be added to sugar, drinks, fruit salads, cakes, desserts and syrups.
  • Some recipes include Gardenia milk shake, Gardenia chocolate mousse and Gardenia and litchi fruit salad.
  • Gardenia flowers are also eaten raw as delicacy, pickled or preserved in honey, and they are called mi-ts’ai.

Other Facts

  • It is also planted as windbreak, hedge and ornamental.
  • Gardenia flowers are used for cut flowers and in making wreaths, bouquets, etc.
  • It is a favorite in the United States for corsages, being second only to Cattleya orchid.
  • An essential oil extracted from the flowers is used in perfumery and cosmetic preparations.
  • Gardenia fruits also have been used as a yellow dye for staining foods and fabrics.
  • Yellow dye from the fruit is used for textiles in Thailand.
  • Yellow color components of Gardenia fruits contained carotenoids and related compounds.
  • Colorless components of Gardenia fruits can also produce blue colorants by a simple modification of an enzyme reaction followed by the treatment of primary amines.
  • Fragrant flowers are used in perfumery; detached flowers are often floated in small containers of water to impart some sweet fragrance to rooms.

















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