Even though they're often called teas, herbal infusions are technically a different category, but when those botanical herbs are combined with real tea leaves, such as black or green tea, they might give the popular beverage an extra boost of benefits. One such combination is jasmine green tea.
When jasmine blossoms are combined with green tea leaves, the result is pleasant and aromatic — and has been hailed as beneficial for a range of benefits, from everything as simple as boosting your mood to helping you ward off cancer. Just how scientifically reliable are some of these claims though? Well, some are supported by studies. But others? Not so much.
Here's what you should know about jasmine health benefits and about combining jasmine loose leaf tea with green tea.
Jasmine and Green Tea
Let's start by establishing that what is known as jasmine loose leaf tea technically isn't an actual tea unless it is combined with tea leaves. Instead, jasmine tea would be classified as a plant infusion. Other popular types of plant infusions are ginger, ginseng, hibiscus, mint, rooibos and chamomile, which can be steeped in boiling water and drunk cold or hot.
Jasmine is a plant that originated in Asia, Europe and Africa and has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Jasmine has been used to make lotions for sunburns and rashes, and its juice was believed to restore the skin's moisture and reduce wrinkles.
Today, jasmine is processed and sold not only as an herbal infusion but also as an essential oil and as a lotion. Jasmine health benefits may include its uses as an antidepressant, an aphrodisiac and a sleeping aid. However there's insufficient scientific evidence to support many of these traditional claims.
Green tea, on the other hand, is an actual tea, although its leaves are treated differently than those of black tea. Its young leaves are withered, steamed, dried and graded without any fermentation.
The result is a low-caffeine tea with polyphonic compounds that could fight cardiovascular disease, ward off aging, help with diabetes and even reduce the risk of cancer, according to a June 2014 review in Current Pharmaceutical Design. More clinical studies, however, are necessary to understand green tea's efficacy.
Furthermore, Northwestern Medicine notes that 1 to 4 cups of green tea a day could lower the risk of Parkinson's disease and depression, and that its high antioxidant levels could prevent the risk factors that are associated with heart disease and high cholesterol.
What Are Jasmine’s Health Benefits?
When dried jasmine blossoms are combined in a tea bag with green tea leaves, it can give the tea a flowery taste, but it's unclear how much health benefit is brought by jasmine to green tea.
For example, an older study published in October 2005 in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, which involved a small group of only 24 volunteers, found that the low intensity of jasmine tea odor had sedative effects on both autonomic nerve activity and mood states of 24 healthy volunteers. However, more recent studies are not available to support the conclusions of the study on the effect of tea leaves.
Research focused exclusively on the effects of jasmine is limited, but another older study involving a small number of subjects, this one published in the January 2010 issue of Natural Product Communications, showed a stimulant effect that seems contradictory to the sedative effect observed in the 2005 study. For this study, 40 healthy individuals underwent aromatherapy massage with jasmine oil.
Researchers measured their test subjects' blood pressure, pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation, breathing rate and skin temperature as a way of determining their arousal level. The volunteers also had to rate their sense of relaxation, vigor, calmness, attentiveness, mood and alertness.
The study showed that jasmine oil caused an increase in many physical measures, and the subjects rated themselves as more alert, more vigorous and less relaxed, thus suggesting that jasmine oil has a stimulating effect, and one that would be useful for relieving depression.
This may be one of the reasons that jasmine oil is frequently found in cosmetics. Purdue University Horticulture & Landscape Architecture lists the compounds of jasmine oil as benzyl acetate, terpineol, jasmone, benzyl benzoate and linalool, among others.
About Herbal Supplements
Even though there's not much evidence to suggest jasmine's health benefits, there are no noted side effects or risk factors, and it's considered safe for human consumption as both a plant extractive and an essential oil. So if you just happen to like the smell or taste, there's no downside.
In fact, Northwestern Medicine notes that even though teas and herbal infusions don't have as much scientific backup when it comes to their health claims, these drinks are still a great choice for people who want a warm beverage without all the caffeine that's in coffee, and they are a great way to stay hydrated.
Most herbal supplements — such as jasmine loose leaf tea — are sold and marketed as being able to offer some sort of health or medicinal benefit, but because they are not reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration for safety or effectiveness, there's no guarantee that they work.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health gives a prominent example by pointing to Ginkgo biloba, which isn't actually useful for dementia, as many people believe it to be.
This is why herbal supplements, which can be sold as teas, extracts and pills, will have a label that suggests how they might be able to help, but they do not ever claim to be a surefire treatment for any disease or illness. Labels can say that jasmine could be good for your mood, or that green tea could prevent cancer, or that jasmine green tea is a healthful combination, but consumers should never count on these claims as a definite form of treatment.
As much as 18 percent of the population of American adults are using some sort of natural supplement besides vitamins and minerals. These might be plants, algae or fungi that they believe could help them with weight loss, sexual enhancement, muscle building or sleep.
Even though supplements aren't technically medicine, you need to let your doctor or health care practitioner know about anything you are taking. Herbal supplements have the potential to interfere with other medications.
Enjoy jasmine green tea for its taste, and take some pleasure in knowing that it could offer a few health perks — just don't expect that this drink will be the cure-all that ancient medicine professed it to be.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Using Dietary Supplements Wisely”
- National Institutes of Health: “Botanical Dietary Supplements”
- American Academy of Family Physicians: “Herbal Medicine”
- Current Pharmaceutical Design: “Tea and Health: Studies in Humans”
- European Journal of Applied Physiology: “Sedative Effects of the Jasmine Tea Odor and (R)-(-)-Linalool, One of Its Major Odor Components, on Autonomic Nerve Activity and Mood States”
- Purdue University Horticulture & Landscape Architecture: “Jasmine”
- Natural Product Communications: “Stimulating Effect of Aromatherapy Massage With Jasmine Oil”
- Northwestern Medicine: "What’s in the Tea Leaves?"