BENGALURU : The word that smells awesome is ‘Aroma’! It has the ability to evoke a positive state of mind. According to reports, the cells responsible for smell in the nose are linked to the limbic system of brain. This system is the one that determines emotions, thoughts, stress, behaviour, working ability and long-term memory.
Therefore, Aroma is used in cases where it brings immediate changes in the psychological parameters such as blood pressure, pulse rate and sensitivity of brain. One such fragrance that exists in the Earth and also believed to be existing in Heaven is Parijat, commonly known as Coral Jasmine/Night Jasmine. In Hindi, it is known as Har Singar and in Tamil, Pavala Malli.
Parijat blooms in the night and the flowers are very fragrant that lulls even stressful minds. The tea prepared out of the fallen flowers is also given to soothe the minds and remove the toxicity of alcohol, nicotine, etc from blood. The distilled flowers are used in perfumery. Parijat is scientifically known as Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L., belonging to the Jasmine’s family Oleaceae.
Night jasmine is a shrub or a small tree that is 5-10 m tall. Branchlets 4-angled, minutely, softly, hairy; leaves 4-9 cm long and 2.5-5 cm broad, margins dentate, rough above, soft beneath, with intra-marginal looping veins. Inflorescences are Cymes in the axils as well as in terminals, 3-chotomous, up to 10 cm long.
Flowers are white with orange centre, lobes 5-8 and twisted, up to 2.5 cm across, salver-shaped, fragrant; tubes 5-7 mm long, orange. Fruits are dry, dehiscent, capsules of 1.5 cm across, almost circular in outline, compressed. It is found to grow along the margins of deciduous forests of tropical and subtropical regions in India. It is frequently planted in gardens for its very fragrant flowers and religious significance.