Ylang-ylang (ee-lahng-ee-lahng), Cananga odorata, is a small but beautiful flower of the cananga tree.This tree has been valued for its wonderful scent. This fast growing tree of the custard-apple family, exceeds 5m (15ft) per year and attains an average height of 12m (40ft). The evergreen leaves are smooth and glossy, oval, pointed, with wavy margins, and 13–20 cm (5-8 in) long. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow greenish yellow (rarely pink) petals, rather like a sea star in appearance, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil.
Ylang-ylang derives from the Tagalog (Philippine Islands National Language) either from the word "ilang" which means "wilderness", alluding to its natural habitat, or the word "ilang-ilang" which means "rare". This plant is native to the Philippines and Indonesia and is commonly known in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.
It is believed that their are different uses of this amazing and beautiful flower. The essential oil derived from the flowers is used as aromatherapy.The main aromatic components of ylang-ylang oil are benzyl acetate, linalool, p-cresyl methyl ether, and methyl benzoate, responsible for its characteristic odor. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac. According to Margaret Mead, it was used as such by South Pacific natives such as the Solomons where she did much of her research. The oil from ylang-ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes (like Chanel No. 5). Ylang-ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells.
In Indonesia, ylang-ylang flowers are spread on the bed of newlywed couples. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace (lei) and worn by women and used to adorn religious images.
Ylang-ylang's essential oil makes up 29% of the Comoros' annual export (1998). (Wikipedia)
Not only used an an aphrodisiac, this plant has other medical uses such as:
- common ingredient in the herbal motion sickness remedy, MotionEaze.
- recommended for treating palpitations and reducing high blood pressure
- is known for its ability to slow down over-rapid breathign and over-rapid heart beat. these symptoms are usually associated with shock, anxiety and anger
- Ylang ylang has proven beneficial for treating PMS, especially associated with extreme mood swings that occure just before the onset of menstruation. It is advisable to used in a bath, massage oil or in a vaporiser.
- It can be used in a shampoo base of massaged into the tips of the hair after shampooing with a base oil such as apricot kernel or jojaba oil
- recommended for dry and oily skin and is reputed to have a balancing action on subum production
- Ylang ylang is cooling, clearing heat from the heart, when severe nervous tension leads to palpitations, hypertension and tachycardia