Sunday Times



While generally grown as a tree, dwarf varieties can work in pots. Prefers warmer climates. The heady, sweet aroma of the tropical ylang ylang plant might not be to everyone’s liking but this plant, traditiona­lly used in Indonesia as an aphrodisia­c, is often utilised by aromathera­pists as an antidepres­sant and sleep aid.

A 2006 study found that simply inhaling it can slightly lower blood pressure.

Steeped in water and used as a skin and hair tonic, ylang ylang can also balance oil production on the skin and scalp. Simply drop some flowers in a warm bath for a soothing effect, or mix with orange blossom for a DIY potpourri.

Note: high concentrat­ions of ylang ylang can cause headaches or nausea. Some people are more susceptibl­e than others to this effect and will generally react immediatel­y.

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