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Health Benefits of Cananga

Health Benefits of Cananga


Cananga odorata also known as cananga is originated from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is also called locally as Ylang Ylang. It is a large tropical evergreen tree belonging to the family Annonaceae. It is fast growing tree of the custard apple family. It may grow up to a height of 100ft with drooping branches and yellow-petaled flowers. The flowers are aromatic and are full of fragrance. The tree grows from seeds and takes three to four years to bloom. The flowers change their colour from pale green to lemon yellow. Due to fragrant flowers, the tree is also called fragrant cananga or perfume tree. A cananga tree on an average grows about 5 metres every year and in an ideal climate may also exceed 12 metres. The evergreen leaves of the tree are smooth and glossy and oval shaped.


Cananga odorata is very widely used in aromatherapy. The flowers of the cananga tree are aromatic in nature and hence the oil extracted from the flowers of the cananga tree is thus used in aromatherapy. The fragrance of the tree is richly familiar with that of rubber and custard. The essential oil is obtained from the flowers with the help of steam distillation. The essential oil has an aroma that can be described as fruity, pungent, sweet and flowery.

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There are more than 161 individual compounds present in Ylang Ylang oil. The main aromatic components of ylang-ylang oil are benzyl acetate, linalool, p-cresyl methyl ether, and methyl benzoate, responsible for its characteristic odour. The main chemical components of Ylang Ylang oil include the following:

  • Methyl Benzoate – 34 %
  • 4-methyl anisole – 19.82 %
  • Benzyl Benzoate – 18.97 %
  • Isocaryophyllene – 9.28 %
  • Germacrene D – 8.15 %
  • Alpha-farnesene – 2.73 %
  • Linalyl Acetate – 2.11 %
  • Alpha Caryophyllene – 2.04 %
  • Copaene – 1.65 %
  • Cadinene – 1.25 %


The Ylang Ylang oil has the ability to reduce tension and anxiety which consequently leads to improvement in blood pressure. The following are the benefits related to health upon usage of the Ylang Ylang oil:

  1. Ensures a Healthy pulse rate

    The Ylang Ylang essential oil was associated with significant reduction in pulse rate and blood pressure. It also leads to an increase in alertness and attentiveness in the person using it.

  2. Acts as a relaxant for hypertension

    The essential oil has significant effects as far as hypertension is concerned. It helps to provide relaxation effects thereby controlling hypertension. It also leads to a decline in the levels of salivary cortisol that are crucial determining agents in hypertension.

  3. Used in aromatherapy:

    The aromatherapy involving Ylang Ylang oil is effective in lowering systolic blood pressure and the heart rate variability.


The essential oil of Ylang Ylang can be used directly or added to bath water or it can be used directly on the skin after dilution with carrier oil. Cananga Odorata is thus usable in the form of its flowers. ‘Complete’ essential oils must be preferred as they have been obtained with the help of an uninterrupted distillation process and are more concentrated.


There are no such prominent side effects arising from the use of the essential oil in aromatherapy. However, excess inhalation must be avoided as it may cause headache or nauseating effects.

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