Jasmine absolute is an aromatic compound extracted from jasmine flowers. Absolutes and essential oils are often lumped together because both are oils which are accompanied with a strong aroma, but they are actually slightly different. Absolutes are more concentrated and have a more time-consuming production process, while essential oils are weaker and easier to produce. As a result, absolutes tend to be more expensive.
In the case of jasmine, the only way to extract the aroma of the plant is with an absolute. The process used to make essential oils damages the delicate fragrance. To make jasmine absolute, producers can utilize one of two techniques. The more popular is solvent extraction, in which hand picked jasmine flowers are treated with solvents which allow the compound to precipitate out, and the mixture is evaporated to leave the absolute behind. Another method is enfleurage, a technique developed in France. Enfleurage takes advantage of the fact that fats tend to absorb aromas, with the use of a frame smeared with fat to absorb the odor of fresh jasmine flowers.
Several varieties of jasmine can be used to produce jasmine absolute. As a general rule, this oil is amber in color, with a very strong jasmine aroma. Absolutes can be sold in pure form, in which case they are quite expensive, or they may be diluted with carrier oils. People can also prepare their own dilutions at home, which is sometimes preferred because it gives them greater control over the carrier oil.
Jasmine is believed to be good for treating depression and stress. Aromatherapy practitioners use it to promote well being, calm, and relaxation. Jasmine absolute can also be combined with other essential oils for aromatherapy. This oil is also used to treat dry skin; mixed with carrier oils and lotions, it can soothe cracked or irritated skin. Some practitioners of aromatherapy believe that massage with jasmine oil can be especially beneficial for pregnant women.
Jasmine absolute should be stored in a dark blue or brown container to limit exposure to light. It is advisable to keep the oil in a cool, dry, dark place. This absolute can become rancid if it is not handled properly, and people who only use it in small amounts should purchase small containers to avoid waste. Before taking absolutes or essential oils internally, people should confirm that the product is safe for consumption and should check to see if dilution is required, as some oils can cause irritation.