Jasmine Maika Bues was born in San Francisco and raised both in Japan and the United States. Growing up in a Japanese culture that emphasizes the art of aroma, with a mother who was an avid gardener who grew nearly a hundred fragrant English rose plants in her gardens, it was no surprise that Jasmine would be attracted to the study of aroma. Fascinated by the power of aromatic inhalation and how it can affect the psyche, Jasmine earned her certification in clinical aromatherapy to help others relieve psychological pain. She currently resides in New York City and runs an aromatherapy company called Madison + Green, which creates unique, patent-pending inhalers that combine the power of essential oils inspired by medicinal French aromatherapy with aromatic herbs and spices inspired by traditional Chinese medicine. Jasmine will be teaching a class on our virtual learning center on Saturday, June 27th, A User’s Guide to Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. In this workshop, Jasmine will teach us how to make a simple inhaler at home, focusing on anxiety and stress relieving benefits. You can sign up here!
Tell us a little bit about your background! How did you come to create Madison + Green?
Growing up in Japan, where there is a strong incense culture, and later the U.S., where my mother grew nearly a hundred fragrant English rose bushes, I’ve always enjoyed being surrounded by aromatic fragrances. After working for over 10 years at my mother’s fashion company and gaining experience as a jewelry designer and a wholesale distributor, I decided that I wanted to move on to find another passion for myself.
While vacationing in Thailand for my honeymoon, I came across a little traditional Thai inhaler at a pharmacy on Koh Samui. It was a small jar that was filled with tiny herbs and essential oils, and I was immediately hooked. I purchased one for myself and one for my mother as a souvenir, and for a few months, we kept the inhalers at our desk and inhaled it whenever we felt stressed or overwhelmed.
The inhaler made me become a little curious about essential oils, so I began an aromatherapy course at the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies (now called The School for Aromatic Studies). After learning the powerful benefits of inhaling essential oils one’s psyche, and putting the dots together as to why the Thai inhalers were so effective in relieving stress, I was obsessed with aromatherapy. I became a certified aromatherapist, and sometime later, my mother and I decided to launch Madison + Green, an aromatherapy inhaler brand, to help people relieve their stress and anxiety.
How do you source your materials?
My mother and I are both passionate about helping protect the Earth, so we wanted to make sure that we only source Earth-friendly materials. All of our essential oils, herbs, and spices are organic and sustainably sourced from reputable companies based in the US. We also source from smaller, local farms and distillers whenever we can, to help reduce our carbon footprint and to support local communities. All of our packaging is recyclable, and our gift boxes are printed on 100% recycled paper.
While my dream is to grow all the herbs and extract our own essential oils, we are not quite at that point yet!
Tell us a little bit about the way that the inhalers work with your olfactory system.
The olfactory system is quite underrated! We inhale air all day long, smelling and “reading” the environment around us, but we are most often doing it unconsciously.
When you inhale molecules in the air through your nose, some of the molecules dissolve in the mucus lining of the olfactory epithelium on the roof of the nasal cavity. Those molecules stimulate the olfactory receptors, and olfactory sensory neurons carry the signals from the receptors to the olfactory bulb. Mitral cells then carry the signals from the olfactory bulb to the olfactory cortex, where the information gets processed. It doesn’t stop there! Interestingly, the mitral cells, which are neurons that are part of the olfactory system, also carry the signals to the other areas in the brain’s limbic system, and some mitral cells connect directly to the amygdala, the brain structure that is involved in emotional learning and memory. What’s even more fascinating is that the olfactory system is the only sensory system in your body with a direct pathway to the amygdala!
So in short, essential oils, which are packed with chemicals derived from plants’ secondary metabolites, or self-defense mechanisms, have a direct pathway into the emotional part of your brain. Some essential oils can be quite effective in relieving physiological issues, in which case you’d use them in a form of dermal application, but the method of inhalation is the most effective way in helping relieve psychological pains such as stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout.
What do you hope people experience by trying these inhalers?
All it takes is 2~3 deep inhalations to feel the effects of the inhaler. We have a collection of inhalers that are designed with different purposes and situations in mind, but they should all be soothing, cooling, and refreshing. I also hope that by using our inhalers, people can take a moment for themselves and be present.
When did you first come to love the power of plants?
My passion for aromatherapy led me to become more curious about plants in general. Some time ago I read a book by Daniel Chamovitz called What a Plant Knows, and after learning about how plants can see, smell, hear, and sense in many ways that humans can, I’ve become obsessed! Plants have such a wonderful healing power, not only for themselves, but also for people and animals, and the more I learn, the more I fall in love with the power of plants.
If you could have tea with one person living or dead, who and what kind of tea would you serve them?
Definitely with my grandfather, Bunei Tsunoda, who passed away on my 20th birthday. He always had high hopes for me, and in many ways, he has inspired me throughout my life. He was a passionate historian and an archeologist, and he spent every minute of his life, until his last breath, devoted to his research. I would serve him Japanese green tea, just as my grandmother always prepared for him throughout the day.