Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
A tropical delight, ylang-ylang essential oil is made from the long-petalled flowers of the cananga tree. The oil boasts a scent that is both rich and delicate as well as sweetly floral. The name of the oil comes from the Tagalog “ilang” which means “wilderness”.
The History of Ylang-ylang
The exact origin of ylang-ylang’s cananga tree really isn’t known, but it’s believed the tree is a native of the Indonesia-Malaysia area. It is found naturally in Myanmar, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and northern Australia. It was naturalised to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific islands long before Europeans made their way to the region. As a result, many of these natural homes of the cananga tree have traditions and lifestyles that include the tree’s beautiful flowers. The fragrance is honoured in Samoan song, for example, and the flower is a frequent addition to Pacific Islanders’ garlands.
- Heart Beat. At least two studies have shown that ylang-ylang aromatherapy is effective in reducing the heart rate and blood pressure of hypertensive people. In a 2013 study published in the “Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation”, participants experienced a drop in both blood pressure and heart rate. They also experienced less arousal of the autonomic nervous system.
- Antidepressant. Ylang-ylang exhibits some anti-depressive effects as well, believed to aid in the relief of depression and anxiety.
- Energy. There’s a slight euphoric and stimulant effect with ylang-ylang, and many people report feeling more energetic after using the oil in aromatherapy.
- Aphrodisiac. Ylang-ylang is known as a libido enhancer, although scientists haven’t identified all of the properties responsible for this result. Some believe that the effect may be due, in part, to the slight euphoric effect of the oil as well as its ability to reduce social anxiety and boost self-esteem. The oil has been used many years by folk and traditional healers for this purpose.
- Sedative. In spite of the oil having a reported euphoric effect, ylang-ylang oil actually is a slight sedative. This sedative effect is evident in how the oil affects blood pressure and suppresses the arousal of the autonomic nervous system. You can make the most of this sedative effect by using ylang-ylang in your aromatherapy device before bed or anytime you need to relax completely.
- Nerve Health. Ylang-ylang oil looks like a promising agent for preventing diabetes-related nerve damage. A 2014 study suggests that ylang-ylang’s flavonoids and terpenoids behave in the way other aldose reductase inhibitors act. These inhibitors help prevent the neuropathy that can result from diabetes.
- Hair Care. Ylang-ylang oil added to your conditioner or shampoo helps control dandruff, dry hair and tangles.
- Perfumes and Soaps. Ylang-ylang oil is commonly used in commercial toiletries.
- Root Chakra. Use ylang-ylang in your meditation or yoga aromatherapy to help awaken or balance your root chakra. It’s also helpful for awakening Kundalini.
- Aura Cleansing. Ylang-ylang eliminates the negative energy clinging to your energy fields, so it’s a good tool for aura cleansing.
Ylang-ylang oil can be a strong essential oil fragrance. Using heavy applications can cause irritation, nausea and headaches. You can often avoid this response to the oil by using it lightly and diluting it liberally with carrier oil. People with sensitive skin should test their tolerance for the essential oil on a small patch of skin before using more extensively. If you have a blood pressure problem, take blood pressure medication or have some other cardiovascular problem, consult your physician before using ylang-ylang. Pregnant and nursing women should also check with their doctors before using this essential oil.
- Botanical Name: Cananga odorata bar genuina
- Common Method of Extraction: Steam distillation
- Plant Part Typically Used: Flowers
- Colour: Clear, sometimes with a slight yellow hue
- Consistency: Medium
- Perfumery Note: Middle or base
- Strength of Initial Aroma: Strong to medium
- Aromatic Description: Floral and sweet with a hint of fruit