Compilation of herbal plants (description, geographical distribution, taxonomy, line drawings), biodiversity and herbarium.

Read More
Research & Publication

Description of herbal and T&CM research, searchable publication and process from medicinal plant discovery to clinical trial in producing a high-quality registered herbal drug.

Read More
Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM)


Definition and description of therapies, policy, training and education, research in the practise of (T&CM) and integrated medicine system.           

Read More


News Update

Announcement & Advertisement

Forthcoming Events

International Conference on Traditional Medicine and Phytochemistry 2021

From Mon, 12. July 2021 Until Wed, 14. July 2021

Asian Symposium on Medicinal Plants and Spices XVII (2020)

From Tue, 17. August 2021 Until Thu, 19. August 2021

Cananga odorata


Cananga odorata

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Ylang ylang, ylang-ylant totum, chirang irang, mohokoi, ilanilan.

Original Habitat

The preferred source of Cananga odorata is Madagascar. Cananga odorata is medium sized tree common in Southeast Asia, primarily in Indonesia. It has also spread to the Pacific Islands. The tree grows between 10-40 metres high and the extremely fragrant flowers of this tree are yellowish in colour. The trees are kept pruned and they flower year round. The fragrance of these flowers is the reason that Ylang ylang is so common in the perfume industry.[1] Cultivation of the oil from the Ylang ylang tree began in the Philippines.

The name ‘Ylang ylang’ is derived from the Malay language, (alang ilang), and translates to “flower of flowers”. Because of its scent, Ylang ylang is commonly used for romantic occasions in Southeast Asia such as weddings and honeymoons.

Plant Part Used



The essential oil of C. odorata is used in foods and beverages, perfumes, topical skin care products, soaps, massage oils, and aromatherapy products. 


Flowers are picked in early morning. This fairly thin oil is water distilled and presents a yellow to yellow-orange colour, though depending on the actual chemical constituent makeup of the oil, it may have a greenish tinge to it. The Extra 1 oil has the palest colour and has a floral, sweet aroma with a high note.

Chemical Constituents

Sesquiterpenes: Alpha farnesene
Terpenic alcohols: Linalool (55%)
Sesquiterpen alcohols: Farnesol
Terpenic esters: Geranyl acetate (5%),  benzyl acetate (10%)
Phenol: Methyl paracresol (15%) [2][3][4][5]

There are four fractions of Ylang ylang oil collected: Extra, I, II, III.  ‘Extra’ and ‘I’ are considered to be preferred and more valuable as their content of methyl ether, methyl benzoate, benzyl acetate and linalool are higher than that of ‘II’ and ‘III’.[4] [6] Ylang ylang II and III are reserved for soap production whereas Extra and I are used for fragrance and topical applications.

Due to the active commercial status of this oil, there is a high potential for contamination and therefore a difference in chemical constituents based on purity of the oil that would fall outside of the expected variations based on geography and method. In addition to the variations due to contamination, the oil’s characteristics will vary based on time of day that the flowers are picked, and method and duration of distillation.[7]

Medicinal Uses

Antispasmodic/relaxant++++ [2][8][9][10][11]

Traditional Use

Tachycardia, high blood pressure++
Sexual asthenia, frigidity++
Stress, anxiety++++ [12][13]

The oil is either applied topically, mixed with a carrier, or is inhaled.
The oil has also been traditionally used for trauma, acute anxiety and phobias.

Cananga odorata is thought to be an aphrodisiac and it appears to have a relaxing effect on CNS enhancing the effects when used in massage.[12][13]  

 The oil may be used topically or for inhalation and is effective for stress, anxiety and phobias. 

Contraindications and Precautions

Although Ylang ylang has been shown to be safe as a food ingredient,[14] avoid direct contact with skin as contact dermatitis is very common.[15]  



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]

Read More

  1) Botanical Info


1.     Manner HI, Elevitch CR. Cananga odorata (ylang-ylang), ver. 2.1. In: Elevitch CR. (ed.). Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry. Hōlualoa, Hawai‘i: Permanent Agriculture Resources (PAR); 2006.

2.     Lis-Balchin M. Aromatherapy science. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.

3.     Katague DB, Kirch ER. Analysis of the volatile components of ylang-ylang oil by gas chromatography. J Pharm Sci. 1963 Mar;52:252-258.
4.     Caloprisco E, Fourneron JD, Faure R, Demarne FE. Unusual lactones from Cananga odorata (Annonaceae). J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Jan 2;50(1):78-80.

5.     Hsieh TJ, Chang FR, Chia YC, Chen CY, Chiu HF, Wu YC. Cytotoxic constituents of the fruits of Cananga odorata. J Nat Prod. 2001 May;64(5):616-619.

6.     Schnaubelt K. Advanced aromatherapy: the science of essential oil therapy. Healing Arts Press; 1997.

7.     Bauer K, Garbe D. Surburg H. Common fragrance and flavor materials: preparation, properties and uses. Germany:Wiley-VCH; 1997.

8.     Marzulla JC.  Antifungal activity of essential oils. Soap Parfume Cosmet. 1960;33.

9.     Wei A, Shibamoto T. Antioxidant activities and volatile constituents of various essential oils. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Mar 7;55(5):1737-1742.

10.  Hongratanaworakit T. Evaluation of the harmonizing effect of ylang-ylang oil on humans after inhalation. Planta Med. 2004 Jul;70(7):632-636.

11.  Hwang JH. The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2006 Dec;36(7):1123-1134.

12.  Hongratanaworakit T, Buchbauer G. Relaxing effect of ylang ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption. Phytother Res. 2006 Sep;20(9):758-763.

13.  Moss M, Hewitt S, Moss L, Wesnes K. Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang. Int J Neurosci. 2008 Jan;118(1):59-77.

14.  Burdock GA. Safety assessment of Ylang-Ylang (Cananga spp.) as a food ingredient. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Feb;46(2):433-445.

15.  Larsen W, Nakayama H, Lindberg M, Fischer T, Elsner P, Burrows D, Jordan W, Shaw S, Wilkinson J, Marks J Jr., Sugawara M, Nethercott J. Fragrance contact dermatitis: a worldwide multicenter investigation (Part I). Am J Contact Dermat. 1996 Jun;7(2):77-83.

Explore Further

Consumer Data

Consumer data including medicinal herbs, dietary supplement monographs, health condition monographs and interactions and depletions.                                    

Read More
Professional Data

Professional data organized into medicinal herbs, dietary supplement monographs, health condition monographs, T&CM herbs, formulas, health conditions, interactions and depletions.

Read More
International Data

We offer International linkages to provide extensive content pertaining to many facets of T&CM as well as Integrated Medicine. Please register for access.    

Read More