One of my favourite sweet scented flowers is Jasmine. There are many varieties of Jasmine plant (about 200), but there is one that is so close to my heart. It is one species called Jasminum sambac (=Indonesian name is Melati) which is also the national flower of Indonesia. The flowers themselves are small and simple. Mostly pure white in colour and some are pink or yellow. Many single but there is also the double petals one. The fragrance of Melati flower is to die for. In fact this flower always reminds me of my belated much loved father. He grew rows of this plants along side the house that faces the courtyard. In the tropics they flower almost all year round. When the evening comes, the sweet sensual fragrance would fill the whole courtyard and it lingered through out the night till dawn. Sadly these plants which used to grow lusciously had died together with my father because no one took care of them.In Indonesia, especially in Java, white melati-jasmine flowers are used in wedding ceremonies. It symbolizes simplicity and purity.They use them for garlands worn by both the bride and groom, and also to be used in flower arrangements and decorations. This flower is also commonly used during funeral together with rose petals.
 
Jasminum sambac

Jasmine Flowers in Tea:
The fragrant jasmine tea is made by tea leaves which are mixed with certain type jasmine petals to make it aromatic. In China, the flowers are mixed with green tea. In Indonesia they use a species of Jasmine which is called ‘Melati Gambir’ to fragrance black tea. Personally I prefer the Indonesian Jasmine tea better than the Chinese one, Indonesian Jasmine tea is black tea blend which is both refreshing and calming, yet it is strong, dark with intense fragrance. The Javanese will brew it very black sweetened with sugar. Never put milk in any type of Jasmine tea. With the Chinese Jasmine tea, normally people will drink it without sugar. The taste is somewhat mellow and light.

The Healing Power:
It is believed that jasmine flowers are used to heal female reproductive system from cramps as it contains antispasmodic properties. Also people use it to calm the nerves to soothe emotional problems. For the Chinese, this flowers are known to cool blood and also believed to have a strong antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Jasmine contains astringent which is used to treat inflamed eyes and skin, also for gargling to relieve sore throat.
These flowers are also used for aroma therapy to have a calming effect. The use in perfume, incense and soap are also popular.
 
The Song:
There is a very old folk song about Jasmine flower in Jiangsu, China. It is called (Beautiful) Jasmine Flower. Just like the jasmine plants, it migrated to the West and cross pollinated around the world. It has rearranged by many famous musicians like for example in Puccini’s Opera Turrandot, and even a version from the famous saxophone player Kenny G. They say it was in 1792 that the western orchestra played this song for the very first time, and it is when King George III from the Great Britain sent Lord Macartney to China as Ambassador for the Emperor Qianlong. He brought with him some Europian musicians to form an orchestra and they played the European version of jasmine flower song for the very first time.
 
As Jasmine is very popular in Indonesia, there are quite a few songs about this sweet scented flowers. One of them is a very old song called ‘Melati Dik Melati’ sung by Sam Saimun. Thank you very much Dede61 for sharing this song: