Cananga odorata var. genuina – also known as ylang ylang – is a tall tropical tree with large flowers. The flowers occur in many colors, but the yellow ones are supposed to be the best ones from which to extract essential oil.
The oil smells sweet and floral with a hint of spice. It’s used around the world in perfumes, as a flavoring in drinks and desserts, and is quite valued in aromatherapy.
According to my Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, by Julia Lawless, ylang ylang is great for your skin, scalp and hair, so I’ve started adding to my facial scrub. However, be mindful that it can irritate sensitive or inflamed skin. Lawless also relates that the scent is helpful for depression, insomnia, nervous tension and stress-related disorders.
One of my favorite sources for essential oils is Camden Grey. According to them, ylang ylang is also good for heart palpitations, feelings of panic, and also acts as an aphrodisiac.
Pretty good all around essential oil, eh?