Monday, July 25, 2011

Do You Use Cananga Oil As An Alternative to Ylang Ylang: ACHStv Gathering Canaga Flowers for Distillation

ACHS College President Dorene Petersen recently traveled to East Java. Here's an ACHStv video from her trip about how cananga flowers are gathered for distillation.

The terms cananga and ylang ylang are sometimes used interchangeably but there are botanical and subsequently essential oil differences. Ylang ylang is Cananga odorata var. genuine while cananga is Cananga odorata var. macrophylla. Both are from the Anonaceae family.

The trees of C. odorata var. macrophylla are quite common in East Java. The oil is extracted from cananga flowers using the hydro distillation process. The oil content in the flower varies from 0.75% to 1%. Total annual production of cananga oil in Indonesia is approximately 30-35 tons.

The main distillation season for cananga oil is from July to October. Areas of concern for this industry are the lack of tree replanting, while the existing trees are getting old and being attacked by caterpillars, which eat up all the leaves. The trees are not managed and grow to heights of 40-50 feet, which makes it difficult and dangerous to harvest. Previously a harvester had fallen from a tree and died from the injuries.

There is potential for developing and encouraging awareness of environmental issues and sustainability practices. The market for cananga oil is small so the price paid to the flower harvesters is low - approximately $0.45 U.S. per kg. Its continued production is tentative given the areas of concern and the low market demand.

This is an oil that deserves a closer look at by aromatherapists, natural product manufacturers, and natural perfumers.

Do you use cananga oil as an alternative to ylang ylang? We'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to post your comments here or to ACHS Facebook at

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