Essential oil of the month - Cananga
Cananga essential oil (Cananga odorata var macrophylla) is steam distilled from the aromatic yellow flowers of a tropical tree that is native to Asia. The tree comes from the same botanical family as Ylang Ylang, and the two oils share many of the same properties.
As you inhale the scent of Cananga essential oil you will be under no illusion as to its similarity to true Ylang Ylang. The aroma is however, subtly different, and those who find Ylang Ylang too sweet and heady will probably prefer Cananga – which has a slightly woody, greener scent.
Cananga essential oil blends well with Jasmine, Rose, citrus oils (especially Bergamot), Vetiver, Mimosa and Rosewood.
It is often mis-sold as Ylang Ylang, and used as a cheaper alternative in the perfume industry.
While Cananga and Ylang Ylang share similar properties, it is chemically different – and it can be skin sensitising for those with sensitive skins – so use with care. As with Ylang Ylang, it may cause headaches with some people if used in high concentration.
Traditionally Cananga oil has been used for its antiseptic properties – even to help prevent/treat malaria! These days its main uses fall into these categories:
- As a mood enhancer, aphrodisiac and stress reliever
- To help ease insomnia and depression
- To help lower high blood pressure and ease tension
- To help balance oily/combination skin.
- As a hair conditioner and to help relieve dandruff
Aromatherapy recipes using Cananga essential oil
- To help relax and lift your spirits – vaporise 4 drops of Cananga essential oil with 4 drops of Bergamot.
- To encourage a restful night's sleep – vaporise 3 drops of Cananga with 3 drops of Lavender in your bedroom an hour before bedtime.
- To help ease dandruff and condition your hair combine add 100ml fragrance free Hair Conditioner with 10 drops Cananga, 10 Geranium, 5 Tea Tree and 5 Sandalwood.
- For rich moisturising lotion take 100ml Organic Moisturising Lotion and add 20 drops Lavender, 15 Geranium, 10 Cananga, 5 Neroli and 5 Frankincense.