What Is Frangipani Oil?
Frangipani oil comes from frangipani, also known as plumeria, a member of the Apocynaceae (Dogbane family). The plant is related to oleander (Nerium oleander) and has different species that can be distinguished by their differently shaped leaves and growing habits.
The tree is native to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America — a beautiful but fast and easy growing plant that is commonly seen in gardens and temples.1 Plumeria flowers are large, fragrant and red and bloom during summer and fall. Other varieties produce flowers that are yellow and white.2
Frangipani oil has a strong, rich, heady and exotic fragrance that makes it valuable in perfumery. Some may even describe the scent as "romantic." The oil is either clear or pale yellow and is slightly viscous.
Uses of Frangipani Oil
Frangipani flowers, and the tree itself, are known for their beauty and the decorative appeal they add to yards and gardens. In Hawaii, plumeria blooms are popularly used to make the famous lei strung around tourists' necks and are used as table centerpieces for their uniquely exotic appearance.
Meanwhile, frangipani oil is most valued not only for its deep and long-lasting fragrance, but also its deep cleaning properties that make it extremely useful for perfumes, skin creams, soap and lotions. It is added to shampoos, hair packs, conditioners and gels as an aromatic ingredient.3
You can use frangipani oil as a room fragrance — simply add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with distilled water, shake and spray all over the room for an invigorating fragrance.
Composition of Frangipani Oil
A study analyzed the composition of four plumeria species, namely P. obtusa, P. acuminata, P. rubra L. and P. rubra. P. obtusa essential oil was rich in benzyl salicylate and benzyl benzoate, with small concentrations of alkanoic acids, while P. acuminata oil was rich in palmitic acid, linoleic acid, myristic acid and lauric acid.
P. rubra L. oil was also devoid of benzyl salicylate and benzyl benzoate and rich in alkanoic acids, making it similar to P. acuminata oil. However, it did not contain linoleic acid. Meanwhile, P. rubra oil contained significant amounts of both non-terpene esters (benzyl salicylate, benzyl benzoate and 2-phenylethyl benzoate) and alkanoic acids. It had the highest concentration of (E)-nerolidol and geraniol among the four species studied.4
Benefits of Frangipani Oil
Frangipani flowers, as well as other parts of the tree, have been used for different health disorders. A few drops of frangipani sap is said to help heal toothache, while the bark, pounded and applied as a compress, can help overcome swelling. Drinking a tea made from frangipani root (boiled in water) is also said to help cure diabetes.5 I do not recommend the oral use of frangipani, though, unless approved by a qualified health practitioner.
Meanwhile, frangipani oil is valued for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is said to help relieve inflammation, headache, back pain and tinnitus. It is known for its moisturizing effects, as it soothes dry and cracked skin, helping keep skin soft. Frangipani oil relaxes nerves and muscles, and has aphrodisiac, astringent and purifying properties.
How to Make Frangipani Oil
Frangipani oil is made either by cold depression or solvent extraction, resulting in a pure and highly concentrated oil. This method of extraction captures the sweet, fresh ethereal notes of its flower.
How Does Frangipani Oil Work?
You can get the benefits of frangipani oil by using it topically or by diffusing it. The aromatherapeutic properties of frangipani give it its deep internal cleaning that refreshes the mind, body and soul. You can use it as massage oil, where you can appreciate both its fragrance and moisturizing properties.6,7
Adding a few drops in your bathwater is recommended, as it will heighten your senses and give you that same feeling of renewal that a spa brings. However, I recommend blending frangipani oil with other flowers oils, as well as a safe carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil before using it topically.
Is Frangipani Oil Safe?
As there are still no safety studies on frangipani oil, I advise using it with caution, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffering from any illness. Frangipani oil is best used topically, diluted in a safe carrier oil. Do not ingest it without the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
You should also do a skin patch test to see if you have any sensitivity to this oil. Apply a diluted drop to your skin and see if any allergic reactions occur.
Side Effects of Frangipani Oil
Frangipani oil has emmenagogue (stimulates menstrual flow) properties, so it should be avoided during pregnancy, as it may lead to miscarriage. Those with epilepsy should refrain from using this oil.