History & USe
Do you want the strength to withstand tough challenges? Experience a lasting bond with someone? Connect with spirits and ghosts? Be immortal and spiritual over multiple lifetimes?
The plumeria flower was believed to have these and other powers in different cultures and at various stages in its history. While the name plumeria—after the seventeenth-century French botanist Charles Plumier—seems to be preferred by botanists and English-speakers, the common name frangipani is said to have its origins with a sixteenth-century marquis of a noble family in Italy who claimed to invent a plumeria scented perfume. The name comes from Italian—‘frangi’ meaning breaking and 'pani' meaning bread, a reference to the distribution of bread during times of famine for which the family of the marquis was known.
As can be expected, the names and uses of this floral differ with region and culture. In Persian, the name is yasmin, in Bengali kath champa, in Hindi champa, and in Hawaii melia. In Sri Lanka it's referred to as araliya or temple tree. The name lilawaadi is used in Indonesia, and in Bali it's jepun. In French Polynesia it's called tipanier while in the Phillipines it's kalachuchi. In India the flower is called davaga nagale and in Vietnam, ca su which means porcelain tree.
Frangipani is a small genus of 7-8 species that grows in the tropical and subtropical Americas. The species are indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Asia, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Some can also be found in Brazil mainly grown as cosmopolitan ornamentals. Frangipani has spread to all tropical areas of the world including Hawaii where it's so plentiful most locals are convinced it’s native.
Please note that this section is for information purposes only. The benefits/effect listed below are not necessarily clinically proven, they are mainly the reported experiences of users and practitioners of folk and traditional healing/medical systems. This information is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a suitably qualified health-care practitioner for medical advice.
Some health benefits provided by Frangipani essential oil are discussed below:
The essential oil of Frangipani is used to moisturize skin in massage therapy. The oil assures that the skin remains soft and is helpful for dry and cracked skin, so those who are suffering from skin problems may want to consider adding this essential oil to the regular routine. Frangipani essential oil is also an astringent which causes contraction of skin cells as well as body tissues.
Those who suffer from severe headaches may find this essential oil to be helpful. Frangipani essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties which help to treat severe headaches as well as other kinds of pain such as muscle and back pain.
Acts as stimulant
Frangipani essential oil acts is a mild stimulant that can assist in maintaining the health of the circulatory, nervous and other body systems.
Frangipani essential oil is loaded with antioxidants which help to eliminate free radicals from the body thereby reducing inflammation which goes a long way towards maintaining the healthy functioning of the body.
Frangipani essential oil helps to lower stress which calms the mind and helps to restore hormonal balance to the body. The essential oil also has a sedative that can help improve sleep.
Uses in Traditional and Folk Medicine
In India, the plant is used as a remedy for diarrhea and to treat itch.
The milky juice is used for treating rheumatism and inflammation.
The bark is used for fever, diarrhea, cysts, and in treating gonorrhea.
The flowers are consumed with betel nut to cure ague.
Natives of Mexico use it for fevers, skin complaints and for treating edema.
The milky latex is used for sores and toothache.
A concentrate made from the leaves is used for cracks and abrasions on the sole of feet.
An infusion made from flower is used as a cosmetic in Thailand.
The bark, shoot, and flowers are used in Myanmar for pruritis, leprosy and to treat carbuncles, boils and ascites.
The shoots and flowers are useful for treating Malaria symptoms.
A concentrate made from the flower is used to treat diabetes in Mexico.
Frangipani is used to relieve menstrual pain and to prevent fainting due to heat stroke or sun exposure.
The scraped bark is used for treating scabies and wounds from poisonous fish.
Juice from the bark is used to treat amoebic dysentery.
The sap is used for treating stings of bees and wasps, and centipede bites.
The sap of Frangipani is used to treat moles and warts.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Fragrance of the Night-Beauty and Betrayal
These beautiful flowers, which come in a variety of colors, are most fragrant at night as a trick of nature to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. So what's the trick? The flowers yield no nectar but the moths think there is because of the scent. During the fruitless search for the promised nectar, the moths inadvertently transfer the pollen from flower to flower.
The species are easily cultivated by cutting leafless stem tips in spring, allowing them to dry, and finally planning them in well-drained soil. They should only be watered when totally dry.
Whether grown in the ground, large planters or pots, against walls, or on balconies, these colorful flowers with their divine scent certainly give one a sense of heavenly bliss!
Frangipani is a Truly International Phenomenon!
From the period of the Maya and Aztec empires to present, the plumeria plant has played in important cultural role in Central American societies for well over two millennia. The Maya people associate it with life and fertility, with the flowers connected with female sexuality. At the height of the Aztec Empire plumerias were a status symbol, often appearing in the gardens of nobles.
In southern and Southeast Asia, plumerias feature in folk tales as places of shelter for ghosts and spirits.
It is not uncommon in the same region to find the flowers in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist temples.
In several Pacific islands, such as Tahiti, Fiji, Somoa, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tonga, and the Cook Islands plumeria species are used for making the lei, a traditional wreath. In modern Polynesian culture, the flower can be worn by women to indicate their relationship status—over the right ear if single, and over the left means off limits!
Plumeria ruba is the national flower of Nicaragua, where it is known under the local name sacuanjoche.
Plumeria alba is the national flower of Laos, where it is known under the local name champa or dok champa.
In Bengali culture, most white flowers, and in particular, plumeria (Bengali, chômpa or chãpa), are associated with funerals and death.
In the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, the plumeria is often associated with ghosts and cemeteries. The plumeria's scent is also associated with the kuntilantic, an evil vampiric spirit of a dead mother in Malaysian-Indonesian folklore. Plumerias are planted on burial grounds in all three nations and in the Philippines, are common ornamental plants in houses, parks, parking lots, and open-air establishments.
Balinese Hindus use the flowers in their temple offerings.
Indian incenses fragranced with Plumeria rumbra have "champa" in their names. For example, nag champa is an incense containing a fragrance combining plumeria and sandalwood. Most champa incenses also incorporate other tree resins, such as Halmaddi (Ailanthus triphysa) and benzoin resin, as well as other floral ingredients, including champaca (Magnolia champaca), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), and vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) to produce a more intense, plumeria-like aroma.
In the Western Ghats of Karnataka, the bride and groom exchange garlands of cream-coloured plumeria during weddings. Plumeria plants adorn many temples in these regions.
In Sri Lankan tradition, plumeria is associated with worship. One of the heavenly damsels in the frescoes of the fifth-century rock fortress Sigiriya holds a 5-petalled flower in her right hand that is indistinguishable from plumeria.
In Eastern Africa, frangipani is sometimes referred to in Swahili love poems. Some species of plumeria have been studied for their potential medicinal value.