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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 896314, 30 pages
Review Article

Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivities of Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang)

1Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, 46150 Bandar Sunway, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
2Division of Genetic and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3Biomolecular Research Group, Biochemistry Program, Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Received 30 April 2015; Revised 4 June 2015; Accepted 9 June 2015

Academic Editor: Mark Moss

Copyright © 2015 Loh Teng Hern Tan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata Hook. F. & Thomson) is one of the plants that are exploited at a large scale for its essential oil which is an important raw material for the fragrance industry. The essential oils extracted via steam distillation from the plant have been used mainly in cosmetic industry but also in food industry. Traditionally, C. odorata is used to treat malaria, stomach ailments, asthma, gout, and rheumatism. The essential oils or ylang-ylang oil is used in aromatherapy and is believed to be effective in treating depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Many phytochemical studies have identified the constituents present in the essential oils of C. odorata. A wide range of chemical compounds including monoterpene, sesquiterpenes, and phenylpropanoids have been isolated from this plant. Recent studies have shown a wide variety of bioactivities exhibited by the essential oils and the extracts of C. odorata including antimicrobial, antibiofilm, anti-inflammatory, antivector, insect-repellent, antidiabetic, antifertility and antimelanogenesis activities. Thus, the present review summarizes the information concerning the traditional uses, phytochemistry, and biological activities of C. odorata. This review is aimed at demonstrating that C. odorata not only is an important raw material for perfume industry but also considered as a prospective useful plant to agriculture and medicine.