Ylang Ylang

(adapted from Make your own AphrodisiacsAphrodisia, p82)

Ylang ylang is a tropical tree (Cananga odorata) native to Malaya, the Philippines and wider southeast Asia area. Its name is Malay for ‘flower of flowers’.

The floppy yellow–green blossoms have a rich, sensuous fragrance, and their essential oil forms the high note of many perfumes. The effect is euphoric, relaxing and antidepressant.

Ylang ylang was used in Victorian and later times as an ingredient of Macassar oil, the hair oil of the day for men. It did keep hair glossy and tidy but had the unfortunate quality of rubbing off from the back of the head onto a chair; this led to the antimacassar, a piece of protective cloth for protecting the top part of valued chairs.

But forget all that, get hold of ylang ylang essential oil and try our bath truffles.

Bath Truffles

We use cocoa butter for these truffles because it is (a) a neutral carrier for aromatic oils and (b) melts at exactly the same temperature as our blood heat. This means that the truffles will be solid at room temperature but melt readily in the bath.

Just one ylang ylang truffle in a hot bath will make your skin feel soft and velvety, and the smell will relax you even more.

Melt 75g (3oz) cocoa butter, add 20–30 drops ylang ylang essential oil. Pour the mixture into heart-shaped moulds or (less romantically) an ice cube tray. Chill in the fridge until firmly set, then turn out and store in a jar in a cool place.