Ylang ylang is a yellow, star-shaped flower that grows on the Cananga tree (Cananga odorata). This tropical species is native to countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, such as India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and parts of Australia. Ylang ylang’s heady, aromatic scent is fruity, flowery, and rich.
The ylang ylang flower is used to make several types of essential oil, via steam distillation. The oils vary in the intensity of their scent.
Ylang ylang extra is the most potent essential oil derived from the ylang ylang flower. This oil is often used as a top note in perfumes, such as Chanel Number Five.
The less potent essential oils are used as medium-to-base notes in perfume, and to make products such as cologne, lotion, food flavoring, and soap. The subtlest form of ylang ylang is often known as Cananga oil.
What are the benefits of Ylang Ylang essential oil?
Ylang Ylang oil has traditionally been used for a variety of purposes, including:
To boost mood
Lower blood pressure
Decrease heart rate
Stimulate oil production in the skin and on the scalp
Repel flying insects and kill bug larvae
Some people use ylang ylang as an aphrodisiac and for sexual stimulation, although its benefits in this area are primarily anecdotal.
Ylang ylang also has a history of use as a traditional, herbal treatment for conditions such as:
Like many essential oils, researchers have been working to evaluate the potential health benefits of Ylang Ylang oil and its components.
How to use Ylang Ylang essential oil?
Ylang ylang can be mixed with a carrier oil, and used for dry skincare and for massage. It can also be rubbed on the scalp to promote oil production and reduce dryness. Since ylang ylang is irritating for some people, always do a patch test first and wait 24 hours before using.
Always dilute it. To use topically, add one drop of essential oil for each teaspoon of carrier oil.
Store properly. Store in an opaque, glass container in a cool, dark place.
Use and monitor its quality. Ylang ylang has a long shelf life, so you can make several batches to store for a year, or longer. However, never use an oil that has expired or smells rancid.
Use with water in an oil diffuser. Ylang ylang can also be inhaled as an aromatherapy treatment by using in a room diffuser.
Are there any side effects?
As with any essential oils, do not apply full-strength ylang ylang to the skin. Ylang ylang should be mixed with a carrier oil and patch tested, before using on a large area of the body, face, or scalp.
Ylang ylang is poisonous to dogs and cats. Do not apply ylang ylang to your pet’s skin, paws, or coat, and make sure not to use it where your pet might lick or inhale it.
Ylang ylang is currently considered safe when used as a food additive. However, if you are allergic to its ingredients, it may be best for you to avoid it completely.
The bottom line!
Ylang ylang has a fruity, sweet scent and is a popular ingredient in many perfumes and cosmetic products.
Ylang ylang has several benefits proven by scientific research, such as alleviating anxiety and lowering blood pressure in some people. Anecdotal evidence indicates that its calming effect may also make it beneficial for relaxation and for conditions such as headaches.
Ylang ylang contains several allergens and should be used cautiously on the skin.
Always talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns before using Ylang Ylang oil.