The overwhelming fragrance of the tuberose has been distilled for use in perfumery since the 17th century, when the flower was first transported to Europe. French Queen Marie Antoinette used a perfume called Sillage de la Reine, also called Parfum de Trianon, containing tuberose, orange blossom, sandalwood, jasmine, iris and cedar. It remains a popular floral note for perfumes, either in stand-alone Tuberose fragrances or mixed floral scents, but it generally must be used in moderation because the essence is overpowering and can become sickly to the wearer.
Azucena or Polianthes Tuberose is an evergreen, with a stout and tuberous rootstock. Basal leaves are linear, 40 to 60 centimeters long, less than 1 centimeter wide, those on the stem much shorter. The inflorescence is erect, 0.5 to 1 meter high. Flowers are fragrant, waxy white, in pairs, 5 to 6 centimeters long, and the segments, oblong-lanceolate, 1 to 1.5 centimeters long.
- Flowers are cooked. Used in vegetable soups or added to the Indonesian soy sauce.
- Flowers are source of tuberosa-flower water.
- Bulbs have been used in decoction for gonorrhea.
- Poultice of bulbs employed as maturative in the formation of pus in boils or abscesses.
- In Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, rhizomes are used to calm spasms and treat malaria.
- In China, rhizomes are used to treat burns, infections, and swellings.
- In India, flowers used as diuretic and emetic.
Perfumery: Volatile oil used in perfumery.
Aromatherapy: In aromatherapy, the warm and seductive scent is useful as a hypnotic for women suffering from insomnia and depressed with low sexual drive. (In India, unmarried girls are advised not be breathe its scent after dark.)