Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) is from the tropical Canaga tree that is native to India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, to Queensland, Australia. It’s aroma is sweet, heavy and exotic. Extracted from the flowers, it is used extensively in perfume.
Some may find the sweet scent of Ylang ylang overpowering and sickly, others may find it seductive and heavenly. Indeed, its chemical make-up can produce an aphrodisiac effect yet it is also soothing and medicating, regulating adrenaline production. It is a relaxing, sedative oil that can slow down the heart rate and high blood pressure, calming over worked minds, easing frustrations, anger, fear or panic. A natural mood enhancer, its rich, smooth tropical notes are harmonising and perfect for balancing hormones so I would recommend it for women who are pre/menopausal.
It mixes well with citrus oils such as Lemon, Bergamot, Lemongrass, Sweet or Bitter Orange. A perfect complement to Lavender and Rosemary. I recommend 1 drop of Ylang ylang and 1 drop of Lavender in a oil burner at the end of a long day to ease tired, busy minds.
Alternatively add 2 drops of Ylang ylang, 2 drops of Lavender, 2 drops of Lemongrass into a diffuser, or put the same combination into a warm bath and soak the day away.
Avoid during pregnancy and if you suffer from hypotension. Always consult a qualified Aromatherapist before use if you have any concerns.
Geranium oil…just writing about this beautiful oil makes me want to take a long, deep inhale of it. Geranium is grown all over Europe, Russia, Egypt, North Africa and can come in different varieties and scents; the one I’m describing here is Pelargonium graveolens.
It has a sweet, rose like aroma and can often be a substitute for Rose oil so check the labelling before buying (always buy using the botanical name). Traditionally, Geranium is a regarded as a healing plant and was often planted around houses to ward off evil spirits – it is interesting that we plant them now in our front gardens and pots! It’s rich in alcohols and phenols making it antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and fungicidal therefore excellent for skin conditions such as athletes foot, burns, impetigo. It is a ‘skin balancer’ helping control sebum production (secretion from skin cells) so it is good for all skin types and has cell regenerating properties therefore perfect for mature skin. I always use it in face cream for this reason and because it is carminative, soothing the nervous system, relieving stress and anxiety. It regulates hormones therefore useful for women who are feeling premenstrual, working alongside our circulatory system eliminating waste and congestion. Use it if you experience Raynaud’s disease (myself), it warms cold hands and feet. It is a relatively inexpensive oil and can be found in most health food shops or online.
Put 1-2 drops in an oil burner to lift your mood; mix 2 drops with 5ml of carrier oil to massage into your abdomen if you are feeling bloated or congested; add 4 drops of Geranium and 4 drops of Lavender into a warm bath to help you relax after a long day. I am currently working on a hand cream using this oil so watch this space! Avoid during pregnancy.
Some essential oils are classified as hypertensive (stimulating) or hypotensive (relaxing) and therefore when absorbed into the body can affect our heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. For example, Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) is a hypertensive oil. It has a clean, refreshing, camphoraceous aroma containing oxides which stimulate the nervous, digestive and reproductive system. It is cephalic which means it’s good for your head; it stimulates memory, helpful for mental fatigue, headaches and lethargy. One drop in your palm (rub together and breathe in) before an exam can be clarifying. It is not recommended for those with high blood pressure. On flip side, Ylang ylang (Canaga odorata) – a sweet, heavy oil, is hypotensive. Containing sesquiterpenes it is calming, balancing and relaxing. It regulates the flow of adrenaline therefore reduces blood pressure. If you are feeling stressed, frustrated, angry or panicky, 1-2 drops of this oil in an oil burner or on your pillow at night will smooth and balance your hormones. These oils go beautifully together. Combine 1 drop of each in a burner and get the best of both worlds. Happy Aromatherapy Awareness Week!