A tree whose flowers are the color of a frail new moon; whose fragrance overwhelms the soul at night, and which grows near the graveyards and temples.
Plumeria (common name Frangipani) is a small genus of 7-8 species native to tropical and subtropical Americas. The genus consists of mainly deciduous shrubs and trees. From Mexico and Central America, Plumeria has spread to all tropical areas of the world, especially Hawaii, where it grows so abundantly that many people think that it is indigenous there.
The name, Plumeria, is attributed to Charles Plumier, a 17th Century French botanist who traveled to the New World documenting many plant and animal species. The other name of this divinely fragrant tropical flowering tree, Frangipani, comes from the Italian nobleman, Marquis Frangipani, who created a perfume used to scent gloves in the 16th century. When the frangipani flower was discovered its natural perfume reminded people of the scented gloves, and so the flower was called frangipani.
In the dialect of Kannada, spoken in the Old Mysore region of Karnataka of southern India, the flower is called Devaga Nagale, which means God’s flower and used at the wedding ceremony when the groom and bride exchange Plumeria garlands as a symbol of loyalty. In Feng Shui, Plumeria flower is also associated with love.
In modern Polynesian culture, the Frangipani is worn by women to indicate their relationship status – over the right ear if seeking a relationship, and over the left, if unavailable. In India, the frangipani is a symbol of immortality because of its ability to produce leaves and flowers even after it has been lifted out of the soil. It is often planted near temples and graveyards, where the fresh flowers fall daily upon the tombs. According to the Mexican (Lakandon) myth the gods were born from Plumeria’s flowers.
In Vietnam the Frangipani is used for its healing qualities: the bark, mashed in alcohol, prevents skin inflammation, it is also used to treat indigestion and high blood pressure, while the roots have purgative effects on animals and the milk-like sap serves as a balm for skin diseases. The white flowers are used in traditional medicine to cure high blood pressure, hemophilia, cough, dysentery, and fever.
In the Caribbean folklore medicine, the leaves are used as poultices (a healing wrap) for bruises and ulcers and the latex is used as a liniment for rheumatism.
In aromatherapy, the Frangipani absolute is a rare and expensive material that has a high medicinal and beauty value. The usual methods used in extracting the oil are cold compression or solvent extraction to retain its therapeutic value. The oil thereby produced is pure and thick. In India Plumeria is often co-distilled with sandalwood, available in a form of attar. Grown in the same areas as ylang ylang, frangipani is frequently adulterated with it, and many poor imitations are offered on the market.
In Ayurveda, a “warming” oil of Plumeria (commonly known by its Hindi name Champa) had been used for over 5,000-years for its calming effect on fear, anxiety, insomnia or tremors, and as an aphrodisiac. Its healing properties include:
- Anti-inflammatory – The oil is believed to heal external inflammations when topically applied. These are minor wounds, superficial scars, sun damage, and irritations.
- An effective antioxidant – The oil protects the skin from the oxidation process that makes the skin age faster than predetermined by genes.
- Relieves headaches – The oil was used to relieve headaches in ancient India by massaging a small amount of oil on the forehead.
- Back pain relief – Massaging the back with warm plumeria infused oil helps relieve backaches by releasing the tension that could have been caused by inactivity or hard labor.
- Soothing dry skin – Plumeria oil is a potent moisturizer that penetrates the skin reducing dryness. It does not allow the loss of moisture from the skin.
- Relaxing nerves and muscles – When you use the oil as a massage oil or in bathwater, the aroma refreshes senses and helps create a deeper awareness of oneself and the environment.
- It is an aphrodisiac – Inhaling the oil or soaking in a plumeria bath for 30 minutes is believed to heighten sexual desire due to its ability to stimulate senses.
- It is an astringent – The oil is a natural astringent and can be safely used instead of synthetic astringents, which are drying to the skin.
- Defies the aging process – Due to its moisturizing effect, continual use makes the skin resistant to wrinkles caused by aging and oxidation.
I have a special relationship established with Plumeria tree and its fragrant flowers that grow on my property in Costa Rica, in the gardens of my dear friends and along the miles of Playa Grande beach in the protected forest. To me as a plant communicator and Plant Spirit Herbalist, Plumeria Flower Spirit represents resilience, nurture, and beauty. While she is sweet, fragile, and generous, she is also self-healing, protecting, and regenerative. This resilience allows her to fully blossom, to grow even when uprooted and replanted, and to protect herself from the disease. The Plumeria tree contains a sap that flows from the branches where the flowers and leaves are plucked, or the branches cut. The sap is self-healing and is a powerful antiseptic for the plant. While the sap is mildly toxic to humans, (it can cause a rash or irritation on the skin and eyes), it functions to protect the area that has been wounded, ensuring the plant will recover and continue to thrive.
I use Plumeria’s healing energy in both forms: as aromatherapy absolute and flower essence in my True Self product line that addresses emotional trauma. The absolute is one of my signature ingredients in the Maitri and Release formulas. The sweetness of aroma reaches deeply into the amygdala, our brain’s processing center, and fill it with tranquil, healing light. It works through our emotional scar tissue, restores our mental clarity and optimal brain functioning through examination and re-organization of our memories, thoughts, and feelings about them. The whole purpose of psychological aromatherapy is to restore our old memories in a way that is helpful to us, so we can rewrite the stories we tell ourselves around these memories from a perspective of a mature experienced adult. We feel a deep relief, and let go, even if just a little more with each breath.
While living in Costa Rica, I made two different types of flower essences that are infused with incredible healing energy of lush tropical forest of Nicoya Peninsula.
Flower essence of Pink Frangipani represents Love and has the ability to assist with bringing balanced head and heart decision-making. It assists with engendering trust in your inner guidance so that your chosen directions will lead you towards higher aspirations and trust in the knowledge that all is unfolding as it should. It is a true heart-opener that brings inner peace and acknowledgment of inner beauty.
Pink Frangipani assists in healing and cleansing the 2nd/sacral chakra, especially and supportive for those who have suffered sexual trauma in any form.
Frangipani induces a deep level of relaxation and especially useful when you need to say, “I don’t care, I just need to let go and relax”. It is a powerful aid to letting go and unwinding. The essence addresses the stress and tension of modern life – insomnia, tight muscles and nerves that are like tight wires. It helps put life’s demands into a proper, balanced prospective.
Flower essence of White Frangipani offers a balance between forces of light and dark. It enhances prayer, establishes powerful connection to Angelic Realm, expands intuitive knowledge, brings appreciation for the inner beauty and opens the heart to Divine Guidance.
On emotional level White Frangipani helps to shift from trauma to calmness, agitation to inner peace, fear to trust, limiting believes and restrictions to freedom, distorted self-image to self-love.
Mentally White Frangipani brings clarity of thoughts, seeing life through new positive perspectives and points of view and recognizing and letting go of a mind chatter.
Since the physical body displays symptoms of emotional and mental beliefs and patterns as disorders, White Frangipani assists with ailments and illnesses relative to patterns held in the mental and emotional realms mentioned above, clearing symptoms based on false beliefs that manifest in the physical body including: denying beauty in healthy body form; vitality during all life phases and chronological age; aging; degenerating cells; diseases, conditions, patterns based on family lineage.
The True Self psycho aromatherapy line and both flower essences of White and Pink Frangipani are available at Stones Throw and online at maitriverde.com.
Anna Bazarnaya with Maitri Verde provides consultations, aromatherapy, flower essences, and aromatic distillations. Her aromatherapy products are at Stones Throw, and she is in every Wednesday from 11-3 (except she is out of town 9/4 and 9/11) to answer your questions about herbs, essential oils, crystals, and much more. She will also be in Saturday 9/21 & 9/28 from 11-3. Anna is committed to helping you be and live as your true, authentic, vulnerable self. She can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , (415) 450 0947