Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang ylang (cananga odorata) is a tropical rainforest tree native to Indonesia, Malaysia, and other southeastern Asian countries. The tree’s oil is a valued commodity and has various medicinal and cosmetic uses.
The oil is derived from the tree’s flower petal. The term “ylang ylang” actually means “flower of flowers.” The petals were given that name because of their heavy floral fragrance. The famous perfume brand, Chanel No. 5, in fact, contains ylang ylang oil as a key ingredient.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Uses
Ylang ylang is a versatile essential oil that has various applications. In most cases, the oil can be used on alone in homemade products and remedies, but also blends very well with many other oils.
In the Bath
Adding ylang ylang essential oil into a warm bath can promote calmness and help to improve your mood. Experts recommended adding 5 to 8 drops of essential oil into the bath water. This oil can also be used on its own, or in combination with other essential oils. Ylang ylang essential oil is known to blend well with other oils such as black pepper, bergamot, and grapefruit essential oil.
Add 1-2 drops of ylang ylang essential oil into a carrier oil like coconut, sweet almond, or jojoba, to create a natural, fragrant massage oil. This oil is often blended with jasmine essential oil, which also has a floral aroma. The mixture can be massaged over the neck and back to relieve stress, and promote relaxation. Ylang Ylang essential oil is often thought of as an aphrodisiac.
Add 1-2 drops of ylang ylang essential oil into an unscented lotion to create a refreshing, floral moisturizer. Apply to the face and body. To avoid irritation, never apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin.
For aromatherapy, add up to 5 drops of ylang ylang essential oil into a diffuser. Diffusing this essential oil can promote relaxation and peacefulness.
To add a lovely, floral scent to your hair, add 1 drop of ylang ylang essential oil into an unscented, or mildly scented shampoo and lather as usual.
Make your own fragrance spray by mixing 1 cup water, 2 Tbsp. alcohol, and a 1-2 drops of ylang ylang essential oil in a spray bottle. Mist around your home for a pleasant fragrance.
Ylang ylang oil can be mixed with a base like coconut oil to create an antiseptic ointment. Leave the mixture in the refrigerator overnight for it to solidify. This produces a rub-on cream and a natural topical ointment for preventing bacterial infections.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Benefits
Ylang ylang essential oil has been used both topically and aromatically for treating a number of ailments, ranging from lowering hypertension to promoting better sleep. Below are some of the benefits that have been documented in independent research studies.
Ylang ylang essential oil has traditionally been used to treat depression and soothe fearfulness, while elevating feelings of optimism and courage.
In a 2006 study, 40 healthy volunteers applied ylang ylang essential oil topically and later underwent a self-evaluation. The subjects reported feeling more calm and at ease compared to a control group.1
Its calming effect makes ylang ylang a good essential oil for alleviating insomnia and maintaining deep sleep.
A 2013 study showed that ylang ylang essential oil reduces systolic blood pressure and heart rate in men.2 The oil has even been used as a temporary treatment for those prone to heart palpitations and hyperventilation.
Reduce Cortisol Levels
In a 2012 South Korean study, subjects that inhaled an essential oil blend of ylang ylang, lavender, neroli, and marjoram, exhibited lower cortisol levels compared to a placebo group.3 Subjects also had lower blood pressure. This lends credence to the previously cited study regarding ylang ylang oil and hypertension.
Many store-bought repellents contain toxic chemicals. To keep mosquitoes at bay naturally, use a spray containing several drops of ylang ylang oil. One study found the oil to be an effective insecticide against mosquitos.4
This oil can be used as an antiseptic to prevent infections. Ylang Ylang contains constituents like linalool, geraniol, and eugenol, which are known to be effective against some strains of bacteria. Studies have shown that ylang ylang essential oil holds some benefits against both gram-positive and gram-negative pathogens.5
Side Effects of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang ylang essential oil is considered safe to use aromatically and topically for most people. However, it is important to note that continuous inhalation of the oil may cause sensitivity, leading to a headache or nausea.
Due to possible toxicity, it is not recommended to ingest essential oils. Always follow the label instructions and never exceed the recommended amount of use.
A health care practitioner should be consulted before using essential oils on children, or pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Where to Buy Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Previously, high quality essential oils could only be bought at specialty health stores, or through expensive multi-level marketing companies. Now, due to advancements in technology, extremely high grade essential oils can be purchased over the internet at very reasonable prices.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Hongratanaworakit T., Buchbauer G. (2006) “Relaxing Effect of Ylang Ylang Oil on Humans After Transdermal Absorption” Phytother Res. 758-63. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16807875
- Jung D., Cha J., Kim S., Ko I., Jee Y. (2013) Effects of Ylang Ylang Aroma on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate in Healthy Men” J Exerc Rehabil. 250-255. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836517/
- Kim I., Kim C., Seong K., Hur M., Lim H., Lee M S. (2012) “Essential Oil Inhalation on Blood Pressure and Salivary Cortisol Levels in Prehypertensive and Hypertensive Subjects” Hindawi. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/984203/
- Phasomkusolsil S., Soonwera M. (2011) “Efficacy of herbal essential oils as Insecticide Against Aedes Aegypti (Linn.), Culex Quinquefasciatus (Say) and Anopheles Dirus (Peyton and Harrison)” 42(5): 1083-92. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22299433
- Ontengco D.C., Torres R., (2000) “Antibacterial Activity of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil” Food and Agriculture Organization Of the United Nations. http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=PH2002001327