Plumeria essential oil is also known as Frangipani. With all its history and tradition, this aromatic oil is most popular for its scent. You can make superb fragrances with it, but you can also improve your mood and the aspect of the skin.
In this post, you’ll be reading about:
- The legend surrounding the second name of the oil, frangipani.
- Types of Plumeria extracts. I’ll tell you about the different extraction methods of Plumeria oil. Plus the characteristics of each end product. This may help you choose your Plumeria oil and use it appropriately.
- The uses and benefits of a Plumeria aromatic oil.
- How to use this essence to enjoy all its benefits and scent.
- Some quick fun facts about the exquisite Plumeria trees and their flowers.
- A few details about making your own Plumeria or Frangipani oil.
- Beauty, wellbeing and perfume recipes using Plumeria essential oil.
Frangipani or Plumeria Essential Oil (Extraction Methods, Benefits & Uses, Safety Tips)
Plumeria flowers are known in the English language as frangipani. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term originates in the mid 19th century.
An Italian Marquis – Mario Muzio Frangipani – invented a perfume for scenting gloves. It contained the fragrance of red plumeria flowers, of course. But it also used other fragrances that smelled like almond.
There are many types of plumeria species, but their color range in the white – red – pink palette.
I will describe to you these exquisite flowers in the last part of the post. That’s where you’ll also find lots of fun and interesting plumeria facts.
Plumeria flowers are known throughout the world under many names. You’ll find it called:
- Red Jasmine
- Dok Champa (in Laos)
- Frangipanier (French)
- Temple flowers
- Common plumeria
- Tree of Life (in India)
- Champa (India)
- Araliya (Sri Lanka)
- Melia (Hawaii)
The flower is reputed for its rich, sweet and floral fragrance. It’s why the scent of plumeria or frangipani is most common in perfumes.
There are lots of plumeria extracts and each extract has its own characteristics. Next, I’ll describe to you different extraction methods and the end product. Check them out so you know what you’re buying every time.
Plumeria Extracts (Distillation Methods and Characteristics)
One of the best things about frangipani flowers is its intoxicating scent. People have always been drawn to beautiful scents. In the past, strong scents were useful at masking bad hygiene and other foul odors.
Nowadays, we just like beautiful scents. We also have the technology that allows us to enjoy our favorite scents.
Regardless of how tough it may be to extract them, it’s possible to make almost any scent.
Luckily, plumeria flowers yield a good amount of oil so their scent can be extracted in many ways.
Each method of extraction results in a different product. Each has its own properties and therapeutic effects. Let’s see what they are:
Plumeria Essential Oils
Is there such a thing as Frangipani essential oil? Yes, there is. Unlike gardenias or jasmine, the flowers and leaves of the plumeria shrub can undergo heat treatments.
By this heat treatment, I mean steam distillation. This method boils the water. Next, its vapors extract the volatile oil molecules from the flowers.
An affordable and pure Plumeria essential oil is usually steam distilled. A Plumeria hydrosol can also result from the steam distillation of the essential oil.
A few studies refer to the chemical compounds of various plumeria species. As it was normal, different geographic areas change the chemical profile of the plant oil. The oil from a different plant part used for extraction is also different.
Here are a few examples:
- Nigerian Plumeria (alba) leaf essential oil: linalool (~13%), n-nonanal (9.6%), phenylacetaldehyde (8.5%), neryl acetone (5.3%), n-decanal (5.1%).
- Nigerian Plumeria (alba) flower essential oil: limonene (9.1%), linalool (7.9%), alpha-cedrene (8.0%), caryophyllene oxide (7.9%), alpha-farnesene (6.6%).
- Indian Plumeria (rubra) flower essential oil: benzyl salicylate (26 – 33.5%), benzyl benzoate (7.9 – 22.3%), geraniol (trace – 17.2%), geranyl linalool (0.2 – 9.4%), tricosane (1 – 8.3%), linalool (0.1 – 8%), nerolidol (5.5 – 7%).
- Chinese Plumeria (rubra cv. acutifolia) flower essential oil: trans-nerolidol (17.28%), hexadecanoic acid (11.47%), tetradecanoic acid (10.68%), beta-linalool (8.86%), octadecenoic acid (5.87%), cis-linoleic acid (4.68%).
If you’ve read some of my other articles, you know I always give you the compounds of an essence. They can help you look for drug interactions.
They’re useful at finding out the way they act on and inside the body too. Generally, this information is very useful for a doctor.
A mouse study showed that Plumeria (rubra) flower essential oil has anti-anxiety effects. In this study, the effect of Plumeria butanol extract is comparable to that of diazepam.
Another way to extract pure and organic Frangipani essential oil is by CO2. This hypercritical extraction is a lot more expensive to produce, so the price of the oil will also be high.
It is, however, the best way to extract a very potent fragrance. The scent of a flower extracted with carbon dioxide is extremely close to that of the fresh flower.
There are no residues; the extract is 100% pure. Both the CO2 and the steam distilled extracts can be used for therapeutic purpose. As well as they can be used in perfume-making.
If you’re looking for a good Frangipani essential oil on Amazon, you can check this one out:
- It’s CO2 extracted.
- Crafted in Bali, Indonesia.
- It also has documentation.
There is no Frangipani absolute essential oil. There can be a Frangipani essential oil and a Frangipani absolute. They’re two separate products.
I’ve told you about the extraction of Frangipani or Plumeria essential oil. Now, it’s time to see what an absolute is.
Absolutes are thick aromatic substances that look like a paste. This substance is extracted by using solvents. They help to turn the plant material into a concrete first.
For the concrete, the manufacturer uses hexane (solvent). Hexane extracts all oils and waxes from the plant, which is why it’s so thick.
The hexane is next pulled out from the concrete material and reused.
Ethanol is also used to remove the waxy substances in the concrete. This process is repeated as many times as necessary until the substance gets a more fluid form. That is the Plumeria absolute.
It will still be thick, but manageable. You can further dilute the absolute oil with other essential oils or alcohol (for perfumes).
The color of a Frangipani absolute is yellow to amber (dark yellow). The chemical compounds found in a Plumeria absolute are:
- Benzyl salicylate
- Geranyl benzoate
- Benzyl benzoate
Absolutes are not usually recommended for therapeutic use. That is so because there may be solvent residue left inside the product.
The amount of residue, however, is very small and would not normally matter. Especially if the oil is used occasionally. Small amounts of Plumeria absolute in a perfume would not be a problem.
Decide what you want the extract for, so you can buy the right one. For therapeutic purposes, it is indeed best to go for the essential oil. It can be CO2 extracted or steam-distilled.
The enfleurage method is an ancient method of capturing scents in fat. Flowers are usually very sensitive to be submitted to other extraction methods. But enfleurage can always be used on them.
This means you can use some sort of fat to infuse the plumeria flowers. Back in the days, it used to be animal fat. Today, neutral smelling carrier oils are the best for infusion.
The enfleurage method gives us a Plumeria scented oil. The chemical composition will be given by the base oil and the flower.
This means you’ll have to decide what you’ll be using your oil for, so you can pick your ingredients accordingly.
Luckily, the plumeria flowers grow in almost all tropical regions, and they do so at a decent rate. This means there is no shortage of plant material. Thus, you may find Frangipani essential oil for sale quite easily.
Just make sure you trust the source and the seller. You can always ask for the documentation (GC/MS report) of the oil before buying. They should post it online for free download for everyone interested.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t really happen, which forces you to ask for it and wait. If you really like Plumeria oils, I’d say that’s just a minor inconvenience.
Plumeria Essential Oil Uses and Benefits
Although not a priority on researchers’ agenda, Frangipani oil has still gotten some attention. The few studies that we have available show us the oil has some very useful properties.
Frangipani essential oil is:
- Calming and soothing for the nervous system.
- Pain reliever.
These Frangipani essential oil benefits make it useful in the following situations:
- Skincare (wound healing, wrinkles, acne, scars, irritation, etc.)
- Hair care (strength, anti-itching, dandruff, luster and shine, split ends, etc.)
- Pain relief (headaches and migraines, back pain, etc.)
- Improved breathing (bronchitis, coughs, etc.)
- Changing the smell inside a room.
- Improve the circulation.
- Relieve tension in the legs and arms.
As I said, Frangipani or Plumeria essential oil is preferred in perfumery. It’s a rather strong middle to base note that can also act as a fixative.
A base note is a scent/fragrance you’ll smell last in a perfume. That’s the one that lingers for hours and gives depth to a blend.
A fixative is a substance that brings all the other notes together and mixes them better. It basically holds the scent together for a longer time.
When it comes to the fragrance of Plumeria, people perceive it a bit differently. Scents are also emotionally connected to us. This is why I may be crazy about frangipani, while someone else may hate it.
However, this scent is very much loved by many people, especially women. Here is a list of adjectives that describe the scent of Plumeria essential oil or absolute:
- Very sweet
- Subtle earthy undertones
- Spicy undertones
This list sounds to me like the oil itself is already a perfume! I could use just this essence alone and be happy with the complexity of the scent.
Of course, there’s always room for better. So, adding other scents you like or go well together, can change the perfume.
Plumeria/Frangipani essential oil blends well with:
- Ylang Ylang
- Ambrette seed
- Rose Geranium
- Balsam Fir
- Clary Sage
Always keep a notebook for your perfumes. Write down every drop and oil varieties you use.
You also need to let the perfume blend maturate for a few weeks before testing it. You can read more about making essential oil perfumes here.
How to Use Frangipani or Plumeria Essential Oil
Like any other essential oil, Plumeria or Frangipani is very concentrated. For any topical use, you must always dilute it with some carrier oil first.
The same goes for the absolute, which is just as concentrated. Plus, it’s a lot thicker but more fragrant, which helps in using less. This can also be cost effective.
For skin application, you can use up to 10 drops of Plumeria oil per Oz carrier. I’m sure that would be too much though, as it can be overpowering.
You can enjoy the benefits of Plumeria essential oil in a:
- Aromatic bath
- Body lotion
- Facial blend
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hair masks.
You can also diffuse Plumeria essential oil. It must first be diluted with other lighter essential oils like citruses.
If it’s too thick, however, it may clog some diffusers. Nebulizers and ultrasonic aroma diffusers are more prone to getting clogged with thick oils.
You can use other simpler methods, like a cotton pad or an oil burner. Always make sure you use pure Frangipani essential oil.
Buy from trusted sources and ask them details about the product (documentation).
This will help you check whether the Plumeria oil is organic or not. The fragrance can also be synthesized, but the nose can usually tell the difference. This, however, implies that you have both products for comparison.
It’s important to always dilute your oils before topical use. They can irritate or sensitize the skin. Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor first.
We don’t yet know all the side effects or interactions of Plumeria oil. The oil needs more testing and researching.
No essential oil should be taken internally without talking to a doctor first. They can irritate or burn the sensitive mucous membranes.
Avoid using a new oil on children and elderly people, pets or people with health problems. People with seizures, epilepsy or asthma should be extra cautious when using Plumeria oil.
Fun Facts, DIY Plumeria Oil & Recipes to Try Right Away
Plumeria is a plant genus that belongs to the Apocynaceae plant family. The genus contains a few species of plumeria trees and shrubs.
Plumeria is native to tropical geographical areas like the South and Central America, and the West Indies. It also grows in Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbeans. Plumeria species can be found in the Middle East as well.
Fun and Interesting Plumeria Facts:
- Plumeria genus got its name after Charles Plumier. He was a French monk and botanical explorer in the 17th century.
- The most common species of Plumeria are alba, rubra and obtusa. These flowers have elliptical leaves that are red, rose, purple, and white with a yellow middle.
- Plumeria alba is the national flower of Nicaragua. P. alba flowers are white with a yellow middle, with narrow lance-shaped leaves.
- The Plumeria alba stems (leaves and flowers too) produces white latex. This substance is poisonous and can irritate the eyes and skin.
- P. rubra flowers are used in the traditional Hawaiian floral necklace (Lei). It’s used in other countries that have these welcoming floral necklaces too. Those countries can be Fiji, Tahiti, Cook Islands and New Zealand. P. rubra flowers are red-ish.
- Plumeria or frangipani flowers are most fragrant at night!
- Plumeria flowers have no nectar, but they manage to lure sphinx moths in. That way they ensure a good pollination.
- In India, Frangipani is known as the Tree of Life. The name is inspired by the fact that after cutting a branch, it continues to bloom.
- The leaves and sap of plumeria are toxic. The flowers, on the other hand, are edible. They’re used in pastries, omelets, teas, salads, etc.
- The bark of the tree is also used in furniture-making.
- Frangipani trees bloom between June and November.
- Only the flowers are showy, the fruits are not.
- We can get fulvoplumierin from the roots and bark of Plumeria rubra var. alba. It is an antibacterial pigment.
How to Make Frangipani Oil at Home
The only simple way of making Plumeria oil at home is the enfleurage method. You can choose a neutral smelling carrier oil and soak your flowers in it. The carrier can be Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Macadamia, or Grapeseed.
If you like the scent of Coconut oil, you can also use it to add that specific scent to your infused oil.
For more details (tools and steps) about a DIY Plumeria scented oil, you can read this article. It involves a few weeks of maceration and then some straining. It’s not really a complicated process.
Perfumes, Wellbeing and Beauty Recipes with Plumeria Oil
Now, for the most pleasant part: practicing with Plumeria scents. I’ve prepared a few simple recipes for you to try when you get your oil. Feel free to adjust these recipes to your own liking.
Also, make sure you write down everything you use and do. It’ll help you develop your new signature blend or simply replicate it in the future.
Plumeria Absolute Perfume (Sunny and Oriental)
- Cardamom essential oil: 10 drops
- Plumeria absolute: 9 drops
- Frankincense essential oil: 9 drops
- Vanilla absolute: 6 drops
- Jojoba oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
To start your perfume maturation, you can apply the rule of 50:30:20. Those are percentages of top middle and base notes.
Frangipani Scented Body Oil
- Macadamia oil: 2 Oz (60ml)
- Frangipani essential oil: 20 drops
- Grapefruit essential oil: 20 drops
Give the blend a good shake and apply on your body after each bath.
Anti-Aging Precious Plumeria Serum
- Frankincense essential oil: 4 drops
- Plumeria essential oil: 6 drops
- Argan oil or Rosehip seed oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Apply on a clean, damp face and neck every night, before going to bed.
Anti-Anxiety and Relaxing Frangipani Diffuser Recipe
- Frangipani essential oil or absolute: 5 drops
- Bergamot essential oil: 10 drops
- Rose essential oil: 5 drops
Keep this blend in a dark colored glass bottle. Use 2 – 3 drops per diffusion, every 2 hours or more.
Make sure the room is well ventilated and don’t diffuse essential oils during sleep. They can saturate the air and cause nausea, headaches, rapid heart rate, etc.
Now you know that Plumeria and Frangipani are different names for the same flower. You also know that we have Plumeria essential oils and Plumeria absolute. The way the oil is extracted makes all the difference, so does the area where the plant comes from.
The good news is that Frangipani essential oil is easy to find and it’s affordable. It smells amazing and can be used in perfumes or beauty lotions.
Which one will you try next? If you have a favorite recipe that uses Plumeria oil, I’d like to know more about it. The comments section below awaits 🙂