Latin name: Cananga odorata
Synonyms: Flower of flowers, C. odorantissimum
Plant family: Anonaceae
Extraction: Distilled from the flowerheads
Origin: Madagascar, Comores
Plant characteristics: This beautiful creamy-white flowering bush is grown in the exotic Middle Eastern and African countries. The aroma is particularly strong in the afternoon and early evening and is very delicate. Distillation takes up to 24 hours as the chemical make-up of the essential oil is very complex. Often parts of the oil are distilled and sold, therefore care needs to be taken to supply the whole essential oil.
Oil characteristics: A pale yellow liquid with a sensuous sweet, green, floral odour.
Traditional use: In Indonesia the flowers are spread on the beds of newly married couples. Victorians used it in macassar oil for the hair. Ylang-ylang oil assist with problems such as high blood pressure, rapid breathing and heartbeat, nervous conditions, as well as impotence and frigidity.
Blends well with: Lavender, sandalwood, lemon, geranium, orange and bergamot essential oil
Cautions and comments: In normal aromatherapy use there are no known contra-indications, although when used undiluted in some cosmetic preparations, allergies were reported. Ylang ylang is a folk remedy for asthma, boils, diarrhoea, headache, malaria and rheumatism.
Main chemical constituents: Sesquiterpenes (20-30%), alcohols (<30%), esters (<15%), phenyl methyl ethers (15%).
How to use?
4-5 drops in bath, on tissue or in a vaporiser. 15 drops in 50ml carrier.
WARNING – do not apply undiluted or internally. Keep away from children and eyes. Store in cool, dark place.