On warm summer nights, a waft of jasmine blooms always takes me back to the moment I smelled the little white flowers for the first time. I was a kid, helping the women in my family string jasmine blooms into garlands as part of a traditional Filipino festival, and I remember being totally struck by the beautiful, subtle floral scent.
The arresting fragrance can be so elusive though, since jasmine tends to bloom only at night (due to a stimulus caused by the change of light), from spring through fall. So when I discovered jasmine tea, I quickly became obsessed.
And no wonder—turns out the scent of jasmine tea is proven to have sedative effects on heart rate and mood. Typically jasmine is infused into green tea, which has been shown to have anti-anxiety effects. In fact, it may actually help certain regions of the brain relax without causing drowsiness.
The antioxidant benefits of green tea are well-documented, too. Green tea leaves contain a healthy dose of polyphenols which help fight free-radical damage, and the tea’s antibacterial, antiviral catechins may help lower the risk of infection. Since skin is the body’s largest organ and also its first line of defense against toxins, using tea leaves topically can be beneficial.
Enter this DIY scrub, in which dried jasmine tea leaves do triple-duty as an aromatherapy treatment, antioxidant, and exfoliant. Sugar adds more gentle scrubbing power, as does enzyme- and probiotic-rich raw honey. And grapeseed oil is one of our favorite skin-softening carrier oils, though you could sub in any unscented alternative you have on hand, like avocado or jojoba oil.
Brew a cup of jasmine green tea. Set aside 1 tablespoon in a container and let cool (drink the rest—it’s good for you!).
Place sugar in a small bowl, then stir in cooled tea, grapeseed oil, honey, and contents of green tea bags.
For a thicker scrub, use more sugar; for a more emollient scrub, use less. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge and use within three weeks.
Photo credit: Ella Ciamacco