What Are the Medical Uses of Cananga Odorata?

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  • Written By: B. Koch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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Cananga odorata, also known as ylang-ylang, is a type of tree that thrives in many tropical environments. It is prized for its fragrant flowers, which are often used for medicinal purposes. The essential oil of the Cananga odorata plant is used in aromatherapy practice to aid in relaxation and stress reduction, and the oil of the flowers is said to benefit the skin and hair. It can also be used medicinally as a way to control stress and stress related symptoms, such as high blood pressure and heart palpitations.

This plant is native to Polynesia but is now present in many different tropical areas. The Cananga odorata tree is known as a fast grower and may reach a height of between 33 and 66 feet (about 10 to 20 meters). It is often cultivated as an ornamental plant, yet is also grown commercially for its medicinal uses. The flowers of the Cananga odorata are light yellow to light green, with long, thin petals, and bloom in clusters of between four and 12 flowers. The leaves of the tree are a deep green color, and it produces a dark green to black, round fruit.


One of the most popular uses for Cananga odorata medicinally is for the circulatory and nervous system. The plant is said to lower the user's blood pressure and also to slow a rapid heartbeat, whether it is brought on by stress, anger, or anxiety. It is also used to control heart palpitations as well as anxiety.

The oil of the Cananga odorata plant is often recommended for healthy skin and hair and is used in many beauty products. When used on the hair, it can help repair damaged hair or split ends. It is often used on dry skin, as it is an effective moisturizing agent, and it can also function as a way to balance out the skin's moisture. It is often used in soaps and bath oils, and is an especially popular scent in perfumes.

Aromatherapists often use the essential oil of the ylang-ylang plant. Its scent is considered to have calming qualities, and is often used to help patients to relax. The scent is sometimes considered a mild sedative, and is said to calm the body and help to soothe the mind.


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