Learn about the spices needed to create essential oils and their sweet and exotic oil fragrances for use in aromatherapy.
Anise Oil-From the sublime to the fantastic, Anise Seed has experienced a multitude of uses during the course of history. It was used to perfume the clothing of King Edward IV, as a food flavoring during the Middle Ages, and to fund repairs on the London Bridge, for which a special tax was added to the sale of anise seed. Pliny the Elder, author of the first encyclopedia, claimed its seeds had the power to prevent bad dreams if placed beneath the sleeper's pillow. Anise seed (or aniseed) is a member of the parsley family, and its flavor resembles licorice. Used medicinally since prehistoric times, anise seed oil remains a staple in aromatherapy.
Basil -Believed by Hindus to be a passport to heaven, and by one Greek author to exist only to drive men insane, basil has had quite the reputation throughout history. However, basil is most associated with food, where it is used as an herb to punch up dishes because of its aromatic, mildly pungent flavor. Basil is a favorite among Italian cooks, and can be found in a variety of native dishes. Though many people associate basil with Italy, it is actually native to India and Iran. In India, basil was considered sacred. In fact, the very name comes from the Greek word basileus meaning "king." Currently, there are over 150 varieties of basil, however the variety named ociumum basilicum is most used in aromatherapy.
Bergamot -Bergamot has a rather controversial history. Some say it originates from Northern Italy, taking its name from the the small town of Bergamo where it was discovered. Others state it originated in India, and its Turkish name means "King of Pears", which reflects the pear-shaped fruit of the plant. Whatever it's history, there is no disputing that bergamot has been used for years because of its sweet, citrusy scent with spicy undertones. Popular with perfumers for centuries, bergamot has an uplifting, energizing scent which also makes it perfect for aromatherapy. Additionally, bergamot is one of the most versatile essential oils, as not only does it have sedative qualities, but also stimulating as well. It appears to adapt to the needs of the person using it. Bergamot also gives Earl Grey tea its unmistakable and unique flavor, which makes it a favorite among tea lovers everywhere.
Camphor -Powerful and medicinal are two words to describe the wood of camphor. Because of its strong aroma, peasants used to wear lumps of camphor around their necks to repel infectious diseases. For over 5,000 years Ayurvedic medicine has utilized camphor mainly as a germ killer. Camphor was also used in Persia (now Iran) as a remedy for the plague. Even modern day people turn to camphor to fight cold symptoms. Besides fighting colds, camphor has many other uses. Ancient inhabitants of India used camphor in a variety of religious rituals. The Chinese used camphor wood to build ships and temples, not just for the wood's durability, but also because of its aromatic properties. Camphor has another unique use: that of a moth repellent. Therefore, Camphor wood is a great natural way to protect much-loved wardrobes from the damage moth infestation causes.
Cassia -Cassia, also known as Chinese cinnamon, is somewhat similar to cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) in both taste and therapeutic properties. Although the United States Pharmacopoeia recognizes it as cinnamon, it should not be confused as such, for it has it's own unique benefits and history. It has been used for centuries both medicinally and culinarily. Germans and Romans preferred to use cassia instead of cinnamon in chocolate, as it has a stronger flavor. Both Europeans and Chinese used cassia in a variety of ways to spice up foods. The Chinese also use cassia frequently for digestive complaints like diarrhea and nausea. Cassia bark is also used to fight colds, rheumatism, kidney and reproductive complaints, and most particularly vascular disorders. Cassia is also a known skin irritant, so it's best to use it in vapor therapy. Today, cassia is often used in confectionaries and potpourri.
Cedarwood -If the smell of a newly sharpened pencil brings back good memories, you'll love the mild, sweet, woody scent of cedarwood. Native Americans valued cedarwood for its healing and purification properties. They used the wood to combat respiratory infections, and also to treat arthritis, skin rashes, and kidney infections. Cedarwood was also used in some ceremonies for purification. Egyptians also embraced cedarwood, and used it in the mummification process, cosmetics, and to repel insects. Insects and rats hate the smell of cedarwood, therefore it makes a great repellent, especially against mosquitoes, moths, and woodworms. In fact, at one time cedarwood was combined with citronella and used as a commercial insecticide. Today, aromatherapists use cedarwood in a variety of capacities, from potential insect repellent to mood relaxer.
Chamomile -Chamomile is the great relaxer. It's been used for centuries to calm and soothe the mind, body, and soul. In fact, in the language of flowers its name means "patience in adversity." Maroc chamomile (Ormenis multicaulis) should not be confused with German or Roman chamomiles as it has it's own set of unique benefits. This particular chamomile is good for ailments such as sensitive skin, colic, colitis, headache and migraine, irritability, insomnia, and menopause. Chamomile can help boost the power of lavender and cedarwood essential oils.
Citronella -Citronella is a scent every one knows, but might not love. It's so strong that even insects are affected by its scent. Used for centuries mainly as an insect repellent, citronella actually has a wide variety of other uses. Look closely, and you'll find it as an ingredient in many perfumes, soaps, skin lotions, and deodorants. Citronella is a versatile essential oil, and is a must for anyone who lives in a hot, humid environment.
Clary Sage -Clary Sage was highly valued during the Middle Ages for its ability to to heal all sorts of eye problems. Called "clarus", meaning clear, it was later transformed into clary. Part of its Latin name, salvia, means to save. Rightly so, as clary sage enjoys a reputation as a sort of "cure all" because it quite literally is used successfully to restore health in a variety of areas. Egyptians loved the clary sage herb for its purported ability to cure infertility. The Greeks, Romans, and Chinese loved it because it held promise to assure long life. And 16th century Englanders loved it as a replacement for hops to brew beer. Clary sage is also a favorite of creative types, who swear that its fragrance is inspirational. Why not open a bottle yourself and take a whiff? Maybe clary sage will inspire you to greatness!
Clove oil -Cloves were important in the earliest spice trades, probably because of their importance in flavoring foods. Known for their hot, spicy, pungent flavor, cloves are a favorite seasoning spice for meats, baked goods, and beverages. Besides its beloved place in the kitchen, clove essential oil is a valued aromatic, and used traditionally as a remedy for skin conditions, to calm digestive upset, and to relieve nausea. However, it's best known for its use as both a breath freshener and toothache reliever. Cloves remain an important spice commodity, and today are used in everything from perfume to mulled wines and from love potions to pomades.
Eucalyptus oil -Centuries ago, the eucalyptus tree was thought to cleanse the environment, so the frail and sickly would choose to live in areas where these fragrant trees grew, hoping for recovery from their ailments. While just living under the trees might not be the cure people hoped for, the tree does indeed offer healing. The Australian Aborigines applied crushed eucalyptus leaves to wounds to promote healing. They also used eucalyptus leaves to fight infection and relieve muscular pain. In India, eucalyptus is used to cool fever and fight contagious diseases. Even Western surgeons recognized the benefits of eucalyptus, and have used a eucalyptus solution to wash out operation cavities. Today, eucalyptus is used in many different types of pharmaceutical products, from vapor rubs to cold remedies. Even veterinarians and dentists use eucalyptus in their practices. Its sweet, menthol, woody scent makes it a favorite essential oil in aromatherapy.
Frankincense -Frankincense was one of the gifts given to the baby Jesus from the three Magi. People often wonder why this is so, after all, isn't it just a nicely scented tree? Actually, at one time, frankincense was valued as highly as gold. It was held in this high regard for thousands of years. Frankincense not only had many healing properties, but was also burned to rid the sick of evil spirits, and to purify body and soul. Because of its ability to slow down and deepen the breath, frankincense helps to keep prayer and meditation focused. Unsurprisingly, the Egyptians used it in the embalming process, but surprisingly they used it in cosmetic face masks as well. Today, frankincense is as highly valued by aromatherapists as it was in days of yore. With benefits that take care of both external and internal problems, it truly is worth its weight in gold.
Ginger -Though ugly in its natural appearance, ginger is one of the most highly valued spices in the world. Not only does it give food a unique spicy, peppery flavor, it's also renowned for its healing properties. For centuries, different cultures worldwide have embraced it and sung its praises. Traditional Chinese medicine employed the use of fresh ginger for a variety of health issues, from respiratory challenges to toothaches. The Greeks used it to counteract the effects of poison. King Henry VIII of England recommended the use of ginger to combat the the great plague of the 16th century. These days, aromatherapists use its warming and soothing qualities for digestive and joint support, mood swings, and to help increase libido.
Geranium -Known as the "women's oil" because of its menstrual and menopausal benefits, geranium flowers actually have a wide variety of uses. Besides promoting women's health, it's also useful for skin problems, like eczema and athlete's foot, and for respiratory tract health. Its spicy, exotic, floral scent also makes it a fabulous aphrodisiac. Additionally, geranium oil is very gentle, and can be used by almost everybody, anywhere, anytime.
Hyssop -Hyssop, also known as the holy herb, is mentioned numerous times in the Holy Bible. Used by powerful biblical leaders, like David, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus, hyssop cleansed and purified mankind, both internally and externally. It was also used to wash and polish sacred places. Others embraced hyssop as well. The Greeks used hyssop for respiratory problems. Persians used hyssop in a type of body lotion to give the skin a fine color. Indians used it to reduce body tissue fluids, to alleviate bruises, and to soothe cuts and wounds. And Europeans in the 17th century used hyssop as an air freshener. Once used extensively across the globe, its use in the Western world diminished as modern day medicine took its place. Now with a resurgence in acceptance of holistic therapies, hyssop herb is once again an aromatherapeutic leader.
Jasmine -Exotic and sweet, jasmine is a highly sought after oil. Exorbitantly expensive in its pure form, it's not uncommon to find "cut" or synthetic versions on the market. These variants are beneficial as well as affordable. Jasmine's historic use goes back centuries. In ancient India, jasmine was (and still is) used for for ceremonial purposes. The Chinese used jasmine to cleanse the atmosphere that surrounded the sick. A good hostess also made sure to have jasmine on hand to give to inebriated guests to clear their heads. Modern uses for jasmine include childbirth, depression, respiration, and fertility.
Juniper Berry -Juniper berry was one of the first aromatics used in ancient civilization, and has a colorful history of use. The ancient Greeks burned juniper branches to combat epidemics. The English burned it as well, and hoped its magical powers would repel evil spirits, witches, and demons. Ancient Egyptians anointed corpses with juniper oil, and used the berries in cosmetics and perfumes. Europeans regarded juniper berry as a miracle cure for typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and tapeworms. Many cultures today still value juniper's many benefits. Tibetans still revere juniper and use it as a purification incense, while Native Americans burn it in their cleansing ceremonies. Holistic medicine also embraces juniper, and considers it a highly versatile and therapeutic oil for detoxification.
Lavender -Lavender is the most loved aromatic used in aromatherapy today. Besides being versatile, its lightly floral and soothing scent is one that most people find appealing. In therapeutic terms, lavender is the most useful oil, and one that every aromatherapy kit should include. It's also one of the few essential oils that can be applied neat. Lavender has a long history of use in many different cultures, but is probably most associated with the English for its use in many of their perfumes.
Lemon Oil -Lemons have long been valued for more than lemonade. We know that ancient Egyptians prized this oil for its purported ability to act as an antidote to fish and meat poisoning. And, like lime, it was a staple on 17th century Royal Navy ships to help prevent scurvy. Today, we know lemon is believed to help contain and treat infectious diseases, especially colds and fevers. It is also believed to boost the immune system by stimulating production of white and red blood cells. Its scent also helps to increase concentration, and neutralizes unpleasant odors. Some hospitals use lemon oil to help calm frightened or depressed patients. It also boosts the immune system by stimulating production of white and red blood cells. Lemon oil is a must for every aromatherapy kit.
Lime -Fruity and refreshing, limes have been a kitchen staple for centuries. It is believed that limes were first introduced to the Americas by 16th century Portuguese navigators. The lime soon became a favorite fruit, both for its therapeutic value and taste. Traditionally, lime has been used as a remedy for indigestion, heartburn, and nausea. It also has cooling effects on fevers, and can help ease coughs and various respiratory disorders. Lime oil is also useful as part of a beauty regimen, as its astringic properties help clear oily and marked skin. Plus, because lime oil is also believed to promote good circulation, it is often by individuals with varicose veins. Last but not least, lime oil has a wonderfully uplifting scent, with the power to uplift and re-energize the spirit.
Marjoram -Its fresh, warm, and slightly woody aroma reflects the meaning of marjoram's botanical name: joy of the mountain. This popular herb has been used therapeutically for centuries. Ancient Greeks used it to calm muscle spasms, relieve excess fluid in the tissues, and also as an antidote to poison. Greek women also used an oil made with marjoram on their heads as a relaxant. In 16th century Europe, the herb was scattered on the floors of rooms everywhere to mask unpleasant smells. Today, while marjoram may be best known for lending a unique flavor to foods, it's also a favorite of aromatherapists everywhere. Marjoram is a valuable and pleasing aromatic to have on hand.
Myrrh -Best known for its presentation as a gift to the baby Jesus, myrrh appeared several more times in the Holy Bible. Myrhh has been in use for its therapeutic value for over 3,000 years, and continues to be a powerhouse in the world of holistic medicine. Ancient Egyptians used myrrh to treat herpes and hay fever. Myrrh was also important to Greek soldiers who took myrrh into the battlefield with them, as its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties made it helpful for cleaning and healing wounds. Even today, healers all over the world are still using it. Tibetans use myrrh to help alleviate stress and nervous disorders, while the Chinese use it for arthritis, menstrual problems, sores, and hemorrhoids. Warm, rich, and spicy in scent, myrrh oil is a welcome addition to every aromatherapy kit.
Neroli -Neroli oil is heady, sweet, and floral, and is made from the aromatic blossoms of the orange tree. It's rare to find a pure 100% neroli oil, as it's impossible for companies to be able to offer it for a low cost. It takes approximately 1,000 pounds of orange blossoms to make one pound of neroli oil. Therefore, it is not unusual to find it "cut" with another oil. This is perfectly acceptable, and does not reduce neroli's benefits at all. Used for centuries neroli is a one of the most user-friendly oils there is. It helps regenerate skin cells, improves skin elasticity, and even helps with scarring and stretch marks. Internally, neroli acts as a natural tranquilizer, and can help with chronic anxiety, depression, and stress. Besides being a beloved oil by aromatherapists all over the globe, neroli is also often used in bridal bouquets, both as a symbol of purity, and for its ability to calm the bride's nerves.
Orange -Orange oil is one of the best aromatics for the beginner. Besides lending a quality ambiance to any environment, orange oil is basically foolproof to use. It mixes well with many essential oils, plus softens and warms up the blend. It also has a variety of therapeutic uses, from relaxing mind and spirit to the feeling of boosting circulation to protecting wood. It's user-friendly in nature, and inexpensive to keep on hand. Historically, oranges have been associated with generosity and gratitude, and symbolized innocence and fertility. Native to China and India, oranges are now grown in abundance in the Americas, Israel, and the Mediterranean.
Oregano -Probably best known as a workaholic in the kitchen, the oregano herb also has many valuable therapeutic uses. In fact, it may well have first been used for its curative properties before its seasoning properties were discovered. Ancient Egyptians prized oregano for its ability to disinfect wounds and speed up the healing process. It's also believed that they used it in mummification. Throughout the centuries, oregano has been used to sooth coughs, calm digestive disorders, relax tension, and relieve insomnia. As far as kitchen use, it was the Roman gourmet Apicius who loudly proclaimed oregano to be an important part of his culinary creations, leading it to play an important part in Mediterranean cuisine. When GIs returned from overseas after World War II, they demanded to have Mediterranean herb staple in their dishes back home. Their insistence on enjoying this herb is what helped to make it popular in the United States. Today, oregano not only reigns in the kitchen, but also rules in the world of aromatherapy.
Palmarosa -Native to India, palmarosa oil has a rose-like scent, which makes it a popular ingredient in soaps, perfumes, and cosmetics. Palmarosa oil also has a variety of therapeutic uses, and is especially beneficial in skin care because of its moisturizing properties. It is believed to stimulate cell regeneration and regulates sebum production, giving it age-defying properties. Additionally, palmarosa oil is great for the digestive system, and was added to Indian curry dishes and West African meat dishes to kill bacteria and aid digestion. Aromatherapists love palmarosa for its skin conditioning properties, and its calming, floral scent.
Patchouli -Chances are the word "patchouli" brings to mind hippies, free love, and an era of liberation. However, patchouli was used in the East long before the 1970's to scent clothes and linen. In the 19th century, the British learned to identify patchouli as it was used to scent imported fabrics from India. While the musky, earthy scent of patchouli is most associated with fabrics, it has therapeutic properties as well. The plant is an insect repellent, aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal. It provides harmony to the body and spirit, and can even fight off body odor by performing as both a deodorant and anti-perspirant. It also has the ability to diminish appetite, making it a friend to dieters all over the globe. Patchouli oil also has the rare distinction of actually improving with age; the older the oil, the more fuller the scent. Patchouli: it's not just for hippies anymore.
Pennyroyal -Pennyroyal is a member of the mint family, and exudes a fresh, minty, herbaceous scent. While its scent is actually a bit more powerful than other mints, its therapeutic value is actually not as strong. Pennyroyal herbwas used frequently by Ancients for a variety of ailments, and remains current in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, which recommends it for flatulence, intestinal colic, the common cold, delayed menstruation, and gout. However, its primary use in today's world of aromatherapy is in pet care. Pennyroyal was a favorite of Pliny the Elder in the fight against fleas, and remains a favorite natural enemy of fleas to this day.
Peppermint -Peppermint is one of the most useful and beloved essential oils. Refreshing, cooling, uplifting, and restoring, peppermint has a variety of therapeutic uses. Used extensively in both Eastern and Western medicine for everything from indigestion to diarrhea, headaches to tired feet, and toothaches to cramps. Peppermint is also a big favorite among the food industry, and can be found as a flavoring agent in gums, candy, ice cream, and pastries. However, peppermint really shines in aromatherapy, as its fresh, comforting scent soothes and relieves all sorts of ailments, both mental and physical.
Pine oil -The fresh scent of pine awakens memories of crisp, winter days and of holidays past. Pine's uniquely comforting and invigorating scent has been used therapeutically for centuries. Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Arabians used the pine needles in religious ceremonies, and also for conditions like bronchitis, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. Native Americans made a special brew with the needles, which was consumed to prevent scurvy. The Scandinavians used pine branches in saunas, and many cultures stuffed mattresses with pine needles to repel lice, fleas, and other insects. In fact, pine-needle mattresses are still used today in the Swiss Alps, however now their purpose is as a remedy for rheumatism. Pine oil is also a favorite in bath oils and foams (always with a carrier), because of its fresh and lively scent.
Rosemary -Rosemary was valued by the ancients of many cultures as a sacred plant that could impart peace to both the living and the dead. The Greeks burnt rosemary at shrines, and along with the Romans, considered it symbolic of remembrance and loyalty. During the Middle Ages, people wore rosemary garlands to bring them good luck and to protect them from evil spirits, magic, and witchcraft. It was also thought to help protect against the plague and other infectious illnesses. Nowadays rosemary is a popular culinary herb, and used in many delectable dishes. Rosemary also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making it a strong ally against colds, flu, and respiratory infections. However, its charm isn't relegated to the kitchen: it's a powerful aromatic as well. Rosemary oil's fresh, minty, woody aroma can fight fatigue, uplift spirits, renew enthusiasm, and boost self-confidence. Rosemary is a necessity for every aromatherapy kit.
Rosewood -Rosewood is a beautiful, luxurious, amber-colored wood, often made into elegant furniture. The Japanese also use rosewood to make chopstix. Its warm, woody, spicy yet floral scent has made it a favorite component of many perfumes. Additionally, while rosewood may not be one of the most widely used essential oils, it has many highly valued aromatic properties. For centuries, the people of the Amazonian rainforest have used the rosewood plant to heal wounds and also for various types of skin ailments. The plant can also boost the immune system, relieve headaches, and act as a deodorant. Rosewood also has tissue regeneration properties, making it a great combat tool against aging skin, wrinkles, and scars.
Sage -This savory herb found its way into the kitchen, and was used to flavor meats and other dishes. As an aromatic herb, sage has a variety of therapeutic uses, from promoting respiratory health to strengthening memory. Sage is also a popular fragrance in perfumes and colognes, especially men's products. It can also be found in soaps, shampoos, detergents, and antiperspirants, as well as mouthwashes, gargles and toothpastes. To cap it all off, sage is also a source of natural antioxidants (although ingesting it in essential oil form is not recommended). There are many different varieties of sage, however salvia officinalis is used in aromatherapy because it is both commercially and therapeutically important. It's still current in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and especially wonderful when blended with citrus essential oils.
Sandalwood -Sandalwood is one of the oldest substances used in perfumes and other toiletries (over 4,000 years). It has a sensual, musky scent, reminiscent of the Orient. Besides its presence in many perfumes, sandalwood is also a big part of numerous different types of religious and cultural ceremonies and traditions. Many Muslims burn sandalwood at the feet of the recently deceased to hasten their soul to heaven. In Japan, sandalwood is burned in Shinto ceremonies and at Buddhist shrines, and ancient Egyptians used it in the embalming process. Unfortunately its popularity has contributed to the fact that sandalwood trees are now almost extinct, and are farmed on plantations exclusively for the production of their essential oil.
Spearmint -Spearmint is a favorite flavor for gums and mints because of its refreshing and cleansing taste. However, this herb has been used for centuries for its therapeutic properties. The Greeks not only used it to scent their bath water, but as a restorative as well. In medieval times, spearmint was used to heal sore gums and whiten teeth. Today, spearmint is a favorite flavoring agent, and it is also a valued aromatic. Spearmint herb helps with digestive problems, headaches, respiratory health , and skin problems. Its fresh, minty aroma is invigorating and energizing, making it a wonderful scent to come home to and recharge after a demanding, stressful day.
Tangerine -Tangerines are much more than a delicious, exotic treat. These fabulous fruits have been used throughout the ages for skin care, digestive health, and system balancing. Their warm, sweet, fresh, and lively scent is especially captivating to children and pregnant women. The French regard tangerine oil as a safe remedy for children suffering from indigestion and hiccoughs. Tangerine oil is also known to inspire, strengthen, and uplift spirits. This fruit helps combat PMS, promotes healthy digestion, and can help reduce scars and stretch marks. It also supports the lymphatic, circulatory, and immune systems. While some may find it similar to orange oil, tangerine oil has its own unique, comforting, and sparkling aroma, and should not be replaced by its citrus sister.
Tea Tree -Well-known for its antiseptic and germicidal properties, tea tree has been used therapeutically by the aboriginal people of Australia for centuries. Named by Captain Cook's crew, it was introduced to Europe around 1927. During World War II, Australian soldiers carried tea tree in their first-aid kits as a treatment for skin injuries. Even though tea tree has a long history of use therapeutically, it is a relatively new addition as an oil to aromatherapy. Despite being the new kid on the block, tea tree oil has become a staple for many aromatherapists around the world because of its versatility and wide-reaching benefits.
Thyme -Warm and spicy, thyme has been a beloved aromatic for centuries. The ancient Greeks burned it as incense inside temples. Both the Greeks and the Romans used thyme to flavor cheese and liquor. The Egyptians used it in the embalming process. Thyme was also a symbol of courage, and in the Middle Ages, knights wore scarves embroidered with a sprig of thyme. A soup of beer and thyme was consumed to help overcome shyness. The Scots used to make a tea of wild thyme, and believed that drinking it would boost courage and strength, plus prevent nightmares. Now, thyme is most popular in the kitchen, however, aromatherapists everywhere know of its therapeutic value and employ it in their practices.
Wintergreen -Traditionally, the wintergreen leaf has been used for centuries for muscle aches and pains, arthritis, and rheumatism. While its aroma is on the minty side, it has a warming quality that makes it perfect for relieving the aches and pains associated with those problems. Native Americans used crushed leaves to alleviate the pain of strained muscles, and also as an anti-inflammatory. What many may not realize is wintergreen is often used in perfumery applications, especially fragrances that possess a forest-type scent. And while wintergreen is a well-known flavoring agent for toothpastes, chewing gum, and candy, it is also used in many soft drinks, like root beer. And in what may be the biggest surprise to consumers everywhere, wintergreen is used in the world's most recognized soft drink: Coca-Cola. Its use in aromatherapy is sweet as well, as it provides sweet relief to many who suffer from the aches and pains of ailments like arthritis.
Ylang Ylang -Exotic. Mysterious. Spicy. Those three words describe ylang ylang to a "T." Ylang ylang's aroma can both uplift and relax. It's been around for centuries, and has been most frequently used as an aphrodisiac, yet it has many other stimulating qualities as well. Victorians used the plant to stimulate the scalp to encourage hair growth. The Chinese used the plant for circulatory health and to balance the heart. Early 20th century researchers discovered ylang ylang plant was effective against malaria, typhus, and various intestinal infections. Around the same time, researchers also recognized ylang ylang plant had a calming effect on the heart. Today, ylang ylang is a treasured essential oil, and is actually more powerful when combined with other oils.