Emblem of TAHITI and pillar of Polynesian traditions, its Latin name is "Gardenia Tahitensis" but that magnificent little flowers with snow-white petals arranged in the form of a star is more popularly known as Tiare Tahiti or Tiare Mahoi (pronounced tee-a-ray).
Reminder of the word "tiara" crown, her name suits her perfectly because she s indeed the rightful queen of all Polynesian flowers and her delicate perfume are as unforgettable as it sweet.
Like a precious jewel resting on a dazzling setting of dark and green shiny foliage, the unsurpassed beauty of the Tiare flower is for all to admire & It is the favorite daily adornment of the vahines (Polynesian women) and tane (Polynesian men) alike who wear it fashionably behind on ear to re-enact playfully a traditional and intricate local code of gallantry. Favorite ambassador of the Polynesian's legendary hospitality, the Tiare graciously submits itself to extraordinary metamorphoses with the help of other beautiful local flowers & and, as the occasion dictates, she magically turns into either magnificent gala crowns, colorful ornamental wreaths or delicately scented lay floral necklaces which, according to the traditional custom, will welcome newly arrived friends or family members in the Fenau
From the family of the Rubiaceae, the Tiare grows on small shrubs, which produce a limited number of flowers each year. Completely free of toxicity, it is the most popularly used of all Polynesian plants. In traditional medicine, the Tiare flower is prepared in a variety of concoctions to suit every need. In infusion, steeped in warm water, ground with other essences or crushed with a few drops of Monoi. The Polynesians have been known to favor those strange preparations to relieve earaches, migraines and mosquito bites, to cure earaches and even stys.. or they simply enjoy placing a few tiare flowers on the small saucer filled with water to release its delicate and sweet fragrance throughout their "fares" (Polynesian houses).
But it is especially in association with the preparation of the MONOI de TAHITI and as one of its key ingredients that the properties of the TIARE flower are the most appreciated.
At a very particular stage of their growth, specifically when they are still unopened, the Tiare flowers are hand-picked and rapidly brought to the plant where they will be immediately soaked into refined coconut oil for a minimum of 15 days. During that natural process known in the MONOI manufacturer's circle as "enfleurage", a French term used to designate a specific extraction step; those extraordinary little wonders of nature will slowly release their unique properties and legendary virtues into the coconut oil. And as the magical transformation will finally be achieved, the MONOI de TAHITI will be born!
According to specific maceration standards set by the decree of Appellation d'Origine, which each manufacturer scrupulously follows, a minimum of 15 tiar'e flowers must be soaked into each liter of refined coconut oil. If the current manufacturing methods of MONOI are being carefully monitored by modern laboratory test to ensure its highest quality, they remain nonetheless fully respectful of the traditional Polynesian methods and ancient know-how.
Throughout centuries, the unique properties and benefits of the Tiare flowers have endured and have clearly been demonstrated, not only through a constant use by the local populations but most importantly by the solid reputation they have brought to the MONOI de TAHITI, making it an integral part of the Polynesian rich culture and heritage.