Once people find out you’re great for the libido (and officially an aphrodisiac) they often stop trying to get to know your deeper, more serious sides. You get pigeon-holed into spa packages, Valentine’s romance massages and the oil burners in relationship counselors’ offices. Sigh And so it is with the gorgeous, exotic, tropical Ylang Ylang.
Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) has been one of our best selling Pure Essentials fragrances for nearly 12 years. Blended with Cold Pressed Sweet Orange. Sales start to rise before Christmas and definitely peak around Valentine’s Day. People ask for “soft, sensual, romantic” and walk away happily with it in their hands. And they come back. Happy customers. And buy more. Clearly it is well received and grooves all that skin ‘thing’ along nicely. Let there be more of that! All good.
But when someone asks for “serious natural medicine”, whether that be for depression or high blood pressure, poor old Ylang Ylang is locked and boxed into her exotic stereotype – a bit like an overdressed nightclub dancer at a highbrow grey-suited medical conference. The expectation is that firstly “real medicine” is, and should be, eaten-consumed-ingested. And secondly, that the yuckier, more bitter and revolting it is, the better it must be for you. How deeply the Calvinist ‘thing’ lurks in our collective unconscious!
And yes, Ylang Ylang even LOOKS gorgeous and flirty and pretty. I want to say I climbed a distant mountain in remote Polynesia to snap the rare images in this post, but actually I snapped them one handed on my very low tech (Huawei) phone in the urbanized Old City of Chiang Mai the other day, on the way to grab a much-needed coffee. Ylang Ylang grows prolifically throughout South East Asia and Polynesia
Despite her gorgeous, feminine appeal, Ylang Ylang is REAL, SERIOUS MEDICINE. For many things. But the two that stand out for me the most are Depression. And High Blood Pressure. Both insidious, serious conditions which limit life, health, joy and activity.
Published clinical research back as far as 2006, found that Ylang Ylang is surprisingly useful as a clinical treatment for depression. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16807875 How to use? Inhale the pure essential oil, or simply apply it (diluted) to the skin. Given that most people don’t have the candles, burners etc to vaporize the oil effectively, it’s really most practical blended as a natural body oil and simply slathered on to the skin after your shower, when the skin is damp and receptive. Given the hideous side effects and dependency issues with anti-depressant pharmaceutical medications, it makes so much sense just to use the most pleasant, safest and most enjoyable treatment option available first. In my book, that would be an oily massage with my lover. 🙂 Yes, you should confer with a skilled and licensed natural medicine practitioner, as depression can be dangerous and spiral out of control. But beginning the process of natural healing with such a safe, pleasant option is empowering, intelligent and something that can be continued while other treatments are explored and applied.
Surprise #2 is that published clinical research also shows that Ylang Ylang is an effective treatment for high blood pressure. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836517/ Given the incredibly long list of debilitating side effects from Big Pharma’s high blood pressure medications, again, it makes senseto use a proven, simple, enjoyable treatment option. How would I use it for high blood pressure? As an all over body oil after my shower, which comes after the 25 minute early morning run. Often.
Considering all the healing aspects of Mother Nature’s pharmacopoeia can be challenging, since there are so many studies and there is so much information out there. What haven’t I told you about the more serious side of Ylang Ylang? That she’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory, a nervine which helps to repair nerve damage, that she’s used to treat acne, dermatitis and eczema, and an effective antiseptic for wound treatment. But I don’t want to make her sound too serious and dull, because that might detract just a little too much from her proven clinical status as an aphrodisiac and a sexual stimulant.
Which brings us full circle to romantic massages and spa treatments using heady, sensual Ylang Ylang essential oil. A wise massage teacher and spa educator once explained to me that the greatest natural healing we can offer ourselves is the time and space to indulge in complete relaxed rest, so that our bodies can reboot to their factory settings, if you will, and restore their own balance.
Gaia, the Earth Mother, is fascinating in all of her aspects. Her plants and flowers offer so much natural medicine, and healing. And perhaps the greatest healing they offer is their beauty and the sense of joy they exude.
Celebrating Each Glorious Flower, as and when I find it. Life is Good.