Evergreen woody climber growing to 20 ft (6 m). Has shiny, dark green leaves and clusters of fragrant, trumpet-shaped yellow flowers.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to the southern U.S. and Central America, yellow jasmine prefers damp sites. The rootstock is unearthed in autumn.
Yellow jasmine contains indole alkaloids (including gelsemine and gelsedine), iridoids, coumarins, and tannins. The alkaloids are toxic and act as a depressant to the central nervous system.
History & Folklore
It is unclear whether yellow jasmine was used in Native American medicine. The plant came into regular use only in the middle of the 19th century. It was first employed by followers of the Eclectic herbal movement, and then later became an official medicine, listed in the Pharmacopoeia of the United States from 1863 to 1926.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
A potent medicinal herb, yellow jasmine is prescribed in small doses as a sedative and antispasmodic, most commonly for neuralgia (pain caused by nerve irritation or damage). Yellow jasmine is often given for nerve pain affecting the face. The herb is also applied externally to treat intercostal neuralgia (nerve pain between the ribs) and sciatica (pain resulting from pressure on a nerve in the lower spine). Yellow jasmine’s antispasmodic property is used in treating whooping cough and asthma. The herb is occasionally taken for migraine, insomnia, and bowel problems, and also to reduce blood pressure. Yellow jasmine is also used in homeopathic medicine.
Yellow jasmine is an extremely toxic plant that should be used only under professional supervision. The plant is subject to legal restrictions in some countries.