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                                 OSMANTHUS- THE SCENT OF EASTERN AUTUMN

When fall rears its head along with its chilly weather in China and Japan, a light and sweet scent fills the city streets for miles. It seeps out of parks and gardens and remains for several weeks. Such a fragrance emits from the annual Osmanthus blooms, a flower famous for having a fabled ten-mile scent.


The name Osmanthus means “fragrant flower” (from the Greek “osme” meaning fragrant, and from “anthos” meaning flower). These flowers have been cultivated for thousands of years and they are often found budding near Buddhist temples. One of the most emblematic flowers in China, it represents fertility, peace, loyalty, love, and is also a traditional wedding flower in Taiwan. Osmanthus is prized for its delicate fruity-floral aroma akin to apricot; even the fallen petals exude a magical scent for many hours after the fact.

Osmanthus Fragrans is an evergreen shrub that belongs to the olive family, like the lilac and, of course, the olive. Flowers range from silvery white to reddish orange, but orange-yellow varieties are considered the most fragrant, with both a rich color and smell provided by the high content of carotenoids in the chemical composition. Perfumers use golden-orange petal absolute, which is one of the most expensive ingredients at around $2,000 per pound. Golden orange petals are used to enhance the fruity clarity of the finest green and black teas.

China is considered the birthplace of Osmanthus and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Osmanthus occupies an important place.

In eastern Herbology, Osmanthus considering as a warm, sweet, and slightly bitter herb. It has a mild fruity taste with luscious sweet ripe apricot and pear notes. Osmanthus affects the lungs, spleen, and kidneys, as well as resolves phlegm and dissipates stasis.


The fragrant petals are the symbol of the Chinese Moon Festival, celebrated in mid-September. Families gather together, eat moon cakes stuffed with sugar, nuts, Osmanthus petals, rose, sweetened tangerine peels, and bean paste; during their feast they listen to old tales about the moon, about the fairy-tale creatures inhabiting it, and about Princess Chanye who lives on the moon in a crystal palace. The beauty deceived her hero-husband by eating an immortality pill. As punishment, the Jade Emperor made her a prisoner in the cold moonlit palace, in front of which Osmanthus grows, reminding her of her ruined love. Another legend tells of how the jealous giant Wu Gang was sent by the Emperor to the moon with the task of cutting down the magical Osmanthus. However, after each blow of the axe, the branches would regenerate and the tree would heal, because the Jade Rabbit lives under it and tirelessly prepares an elixir of immortality for the Osmanthus to thrive.



Fragrant Osmanthus flowers contain calcium, magnesium, vitamins C and B. Due to the high content of natural antioxidants, Osmanthus neutralizes toxins and radionuclides.

Osmanthus’ active ingredients have sedative, expectorant, immuno-stimulating, and anti-inflammatory properties. They also lower blood cholesterol levels, are effective in preventing sclerosis, and alleviating its manifestations. It is recommended to drink an infusion or decoction of the Osmanthus flowers for colds, indigestion, and inflammation of the duodenum, along with a multitude of diseases of the stomach and colitis. Taking a decoction from the flowers of the plant helps to cleanse the body of toxins, lose weight, and normalize blood flow.

Thanks to its anesthetic effect, the Osmanthus fragrance reduces toothaches, painful manifestations of stomatitis, inflammation of the gums, and cystitis. A decoction of its flowers may also reduce hangovers. Overall, it has a positive effect on the menstrual cycle, and facilitates the course of inflammatory diseases of the female reproductive organs.



In 1993, in a study of the effect of smell on human mood, scientists found that the scent of Osmanthus enhances feelings of happiness and reduces seasonal depression. Active substances of aromatic Osmanthus essential oils include as follows:

  • gamma decalactone
  • cis jasmone
  • dihydro-beta-ionone and beta-ionone
  • terpinen-4-ol
  • chemical compounds of linalool oxide isomers
  • geraniol
  • linalool
  • phenethyl alcohol


Here is a list of various teas with Osmanthus:

Black tea with Osmanthus:

5g of black tea

1g of dried chopped flowers of Osmanthus

To prepare, brew for three minutes and cool down.

Black tea with dried Osmanthus inflorescences is indicated for normalizing cell metabolism, removing heavy metals, toxins, and radionuclides from the body.


Detox tea:

5g of oolong tea

1g of dried chopped flowers of Osmanthus

To prepare, brew for three minutes and cool down.


Low vitality, weakness, anti-aging tonic tea:

5g of green tea

1g of dried chopped flowers of Osmanthus

To prepare, brew for three minutes and cool down.


Common cold Osmanthus flowers decoction:

Place 10g of dried Osmanthus flowers in an enamel bowl, pour 200 mL of hot water

Cover and warm up in a water bath for 30 minutes

Cool down for 10 minutes at room temperature

Strain, squeeze out the raw materials, and dilute the infusion with an additional 200 mL of boiled water

Decoction can be drunk, gargled with, and used as a nose rinse with rhinitis.


Osmanthus tea:

The most powerful, potent Osmanthus tea is made purely with Osmanthus flowers. The brewing instructions are:

1 teaspoon of dried Osmanthus per 250 mL of hot water

Brew for 5 minutes

Add some honey or sugar to taste!

Remember: Osmanthus is slightly bitter on its own. It would be best to start with a lower dose. It is very handy on hot summer days (if you drink it chilled)!



Osmanthus should not be used for anyone with epilepsy or high blood pressure. It is not recommended to drink Osmanthus tea during pregnancy and lactation. Do not give to children under 12 years of age.

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