Gardenia jasminoides

Botanical Name : Gardenia jasminoides
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Gardenia
Species: G. jasminoides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names: Common gardenia, Cape jasmine or Cape jessamine (The common names cape jasmine and cape jessamine derive from the earlier belief that the flower originated in Cape of Good Hope, South Africa)

Habitat :It originated in Asia and is most commonly found growing in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan, Japan and India.

Description:
Gardenia jasminoides is a fragrant flowering evergreen tropical plant  with greyish bark and dark green shiny leaves with prominent veins. The white flowers bloom in spring and summer and are highly fragrant. They are followed by small oval fruit.

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It is  favorite in gardens worldwide.  With its shiny green leaves and fragrant white summer flowers, it is widely used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates. It has been in cultivation in China for at least a thousand years, and was introduced to English gardens in the mid 18th century. Many varieties have been bred for horticulture, with low growing, and large- and long-flowering forms.

Cultivation:
Gardenia jasminoides is generally considered to be somewhat difficult to take care of.

As a tropical plant, it thrives best in warm temperatures in humid environments. Getting those conditions is rather hard when in non tropical latitudes, reason for which gardenias are usually cultivated indoors or in greenhouses. In warm places, though, it can be grown outdoors. Either way, it prefers bright indirect sunlight or partial shade, rather than direct sunlight.

Apart from the difficulties in creating the suitable conditions for the plant to live, Gardenias need to be planted in an acidic soil (it is an acidophile plant). If the soil is not acid enough, many of its nutrients (especially iron compounds) will not be available for the plant, since they won’t dilute in water and therefore won’t be absorbed via the roots. It this happens, gardenias start to develop chlorosis, whose main symptom is a yellowing of the leaves. (See Soil ph).

For this reason, it’s advisable not to water Gardenias with very hard water. When having to water with hard water, it is possible to add some vinegar or lemon juice to it before doing so, this will lower the pH of the water.

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Iron chelate can be added to the soil in order to lower the pH, but care must be taken since an overdose can kill the plant, as with any other inorganic soil amendment.

Some gardeners will spill vinegar over the soil to effectively keep the pH low and prevent chlorosis. This can be carried out either regularly or when the first symptoms of chlorosis have been spotted.

Medicinal Uses:
It is used as a tea for feverish states, inflammations of the liver (chronic hepatitis), gastrointestinal tract (with impaired digestion, minor constipation), genitourinary tract (cystitis), and as an antidyscratic (blood purifier) and anti-inflammatory for atopic eczema and chronic rheumatic complaints.

Traditional uses:
Gardenia jasminoides fructus (fruit) is used within Traditional Chinese Medicine to “drain fire” and thereby treat certain febrile conditions.

Pharmacological research:
Studies in animals indicate some pharmacological potential, but there is no evidence from clinical studies in humans. In one animal study Gardenia jasminoides significantly lowered serum IL-1? and TNF-? levels in rheumatoid arthritis rats, and its effect had a close relation with inhibitory development of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats.

A mice study found that genipin was an active constituent in Gardenia that regulated inflammatory activity. Geniposide from Gardenia enhanced glutathione content in rat livers. Glutathione is an important immune system amino acid that helps determine modulation of immune response, including cytokine production

Other Uses:
It is widely used as a garden plant in warm temperate and subtropical gardens. It can be used as a hedge.

The fruit is used as a yellow dye, which is used for clothes and food (including the Korean mung bean jelly called hwangpomuk).

Polynesian people in the pacific islands use these fragrant blooms in their flower necklaces, which are called Ei in the Cook Islands, Hei in French Polynesia and Lei in Hawai’i

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardenia_jasminoides
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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