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Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Uses and Benefits

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Ylang Ylang essential oil uses and benefits are many. It is a highly versatile oil with dozens of uses.  Before we dive into the benefits of Ylang Ylang essential oil, let’s look at where it comes from and it’s various types.

A Look at the Ylang Ylang Plant

Ylang Ylang essential oil comes from the star-shaped flowers of the tropical Cananga odorata tree that is native to the lush, tropical rainforests of islands in the South Pacific and Asia. Young Living’s (where I get all of my oils due to their Seed-to-Seal Commitment) Ylang Ylang comes from Madagascar and Ecuador.

(See below for a free printable with Ylang Ylang diffuser recipes)

This tree can grow up to 40 feet tall and is from the Annonaceae family.

It is also known as the Flower of Flowers.

Ylang Ylang essential oil is steam distilled from flowers and produces a very intense aroma. It is popular for skin care, natural perfume, and hair care and other therapeutic uses.

Ylang Ylang’s heady, aromatic scent is fruity, flowery, and rich.

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Key Chemical Constituents of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

  • Germacrene D
  • (E,E)-alpha-farnesene
  • Benzyl acetate
  • Geranyl acetate
  • Beta-caryophyllene
  • Benzyl benzoate
  • Linalool
  • Para-cresyl methyl ether
  • Methyl benzoate
  • Benzyl salicylate

Types of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

The Ylang Ylang flower is used to make several types of essential oil, through steam distillation. 

The oils vary in the intensity of their scent.

Forms of Ylang Ylang essential oil

Ylang Ylang essential oil comes in several forms based on the distillation process.

  • Ylang Ylang extra produces the most powerful scent but dissipates very quickly.
  • Ylang Ylang essential oils numbered 1, 2, or 3 have less potent scents, in that order, but are denser and longer lasting. Cananga oil (Ylang Ylang #3) has the subtlest scent.
  • Ylang Ylang complete essential oil contains all four scent levels, from extra through to 3.
  • 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. This is the Ylang Ylang that Young Living produces.

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, skin and hair products, candles and more.

What Does Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Smell Like?

The Ylang Ylang flowers are handpicked early in the morning and distilled immediately to preserve the fragrance. Ylang Ylang oil has a strong, exotic floral smell that is rich and sweet.

Inhaling the powerful, exotic, floral aroma of Ylang Ylang relaxes the mind and boosts feelings of happiness.

How Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Works in the Body

In aromatherapy, inhaling the aroma of Ylang Ylang essential oil (or absorbing Ylang Ylang essential oil through the skin) connects directly to the brain region involved in controlling emotions. Known as the limbic system, this brain region also influences the nervous system. We’ve explained this process in detail in our science of oils post.

Aromatherapy research points to this oil affecting a number of biological systems including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, sexual desire and immune function.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Uses and Benefits

The plant and the oil has been used differently depending on the region.

In the Philippines, Ylang-Ylang was used by healers to treat minor cuts, wounds, or burns. It was even considered to have the property of healing snake bites and insect bites. In Indonesia, the aroma of the flower was used for its aphrodisiac components. The medicinal ingredients of this oil were first used by a French Chemist. Later, the oil became known for its powers to address infections of the intestine, typhus, and even malaria. Today, it’s popular around the globe for its soothing effects that eliminate stress and anxiety.

One of the main chemical components of Ylang Ylang essential oil is linalool, a compound found to possess stress-reducing properties in a number of preliminary studies.

Ylang Ylang has been found in research to:

Ylang Ylang uses also include a history of use as a traditional, herbal treatment for conditions such as:

Let’s Take a Look at some of these benefits of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Benefits

Reduces Anxiety and Stress

The linalool present in the Ylang-ylang essential oil is known to have properties that reduce anxiety and promote a feeling of wellness and serenity. It even consists of antidepressant components and aids in reducing insomnia and tension among people who face fear and anxiety.

Topical use of Ylang Ylang essential oil may help reduce stress levels, according to a study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2006.Additionally, a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience in 2008 found that inhaling the aroma of Ylang Ylang essential oil helped increase feelings of calmness

Building on this early work, researchers in a 2016 paper sought to determine linalool’s (one of the major chemical components of Ylang Ylang essential oil) effect on chronic stress. In an experiment on rats, they said it worked as an antidepressant.

Research on mice, published in 2018, looked at linalool as a treatment for social anxiety. They found that linalool reversed social aversion and acted as an antidepressant.

Acts as a Mood Booster

The fragrance of this oil is known to soothe and calm the person inhaling it. The Ylang Ylang essential oil is renowned to reduce stress, anxiety, sadness, tension and promote a pacifying and serene atmosphere. The aroma of this oil can instantaneously boost mood and uplift a person’s thoughts.

The antidepressant properties of this oil can eliminate negative emotions or any feeling of fatigue, shock, or nervousness.   

Studies state that the aroma of this oil even reduces the blood pressure levels, pulse rate, and the stress level of a person, thereby it claims to reduce the autonomic nervous system’s reactions. This lightens the mood as well as promotes a relaxation that could put one to sleep easily.

Boosts self-esteem

There have been several studies pointing to the use of Ylang Ylang essential oil along with the rose essential oil for boosting self-esteem among a group of workers in sterilization and hygiene-related service. The aroma of this oil could address the negative feeling, fatigue, or shock and elevate as well as enliven an individual’s mood gradually. It sedates the mind, relaxes the body, and provides an optimistic environment.

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Reduces blood pressure

Ylang Ylang essential oil may be of some benefit to people with high blood pressure.

According to a study conducted in 2013, the systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as the heart rate could be reduced considerably in an experiment conducted on healthy men. It could even alleviate palpitations and is known to reduce the level of cortisol present in the human body. The cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. By doing so the blood pressure levels of the body could also be brought under control effectively. The circulation is also enhanced because of its hypotensive quality and consequently reduces blood pressure.

In a 2012 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, for example, researchers asked 83 people with high blood pressure or prehypertension (a condition marked by elevated blood pressure) to inhale the aroma of either a blend of Ylang Ylang essential oil, lavender essential oil, marjoram essential oil, and neroli essential oil or a placebo fragrance. Study results showed that those assigned to the essential oil group experienced a decrease in blood pressure, as well as in levels of cortisol (a hormone released during the stress response).

Given these findings, the study’s authors suggest that essential oils may offer relaxing effects that may be useful in controlling blood pressure.

Combats fungal infection

The linalool, germacrene-D as well as geranyl acetate are known to have antifungal properties that work against an attack of fungal infection on the skin. Some studies state the use of this oil could eliminate conditions caused by Candida Albicans, which is a kind of yeast. They usually cause rashes and severe itching at the affected site.

Reducing Malarial symptoms

The dried flower of this plant is stated to alleviate malaria and malaria based symptoms in Java. Even in Vietnam, it is known for its medicinal properties to fight against malaria. There have been recent studies that ascertain these claims as well.

Ylang Ylang essential oil benefits are many. It is a highly versatile oil with dozens of uses.  Learn how it's used and great blends to try. Click To Tweet

May Act as an Aphrodisiac

The essence of this oil is well-known from traditional times to augment the libido and elevate the sensuality between couples and is known as the flower of love. There are even claims that in Indonesia the Ylang Ylang flower is scattered over the bed of newlywed couples which is a folk remedy. Even though there is little scientific evidence for this claim the oil is known to calm the senses and improve mental health and as the mood is known to link sexual experiences it could enhance the sensuality.

Can Diminish Acne

Studies have stated its dermatological use could balance the sebum production of the skin and in turn control acne-breakouts. It even possesses anti-inflammatory properties which could reduce the redness as well as swelling caused by acne. It could soothe out the affected skin and diminish the acne formation considerably. 

Said to Clear Head Lice

A combination of the Ylang Ylang essential oil along with anise and coconut oil have shown promising results for eliminating head lice among children and are stated to have 92% effectiveness. Also, because of its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it could aid in eradicating any scalp related infections. Due to the presence of insecticide properties, the Ylang Ylang oil is included in many recipes for battling head lice.

Used for Skin Benefits

Ylang Ylang essential oil can control as well as balance the oil production in the skin and can work as an effective cleanser. Any kind of inflammation or irritation could also be alleviated by its topical application. With its ability to boost circulation and retain hydration it is quite commonly used in cosmetic products. It has antioxidant properties which makes it an effective ingredient that works against aging as well.  

Ylang-ylang essential oil has hydrating properties that aid in maintaining the skin’s oil production and keeps it well-nourished. Its natural antiseptic properties could even heal any kind of cuts or cracks caused by excessively dry skin. It can moisturize, replenish the skin as well keep it healthy.

Also, the Ylang-ylang essential oil is stated to boost the regeneration of skin cells, relaxing tight muscles, and at the same time attenuating wrinkles. Because of which it is highly acclaimed for possessing anti-aging properties.

Promotes Hair Growth and Health

This oil encourages the growth of hair and conditions the hair shafts. It is even known to prevent dandruff formation and resulting itchiness. This in entirety reduces hair falling out and promotes hair growth.

Ylang Ylang essential oil even works as an effective conditioning agent. If you are looking for a solution to condition the hair without the indulgence of harmful and toxic chemicals, the Ylang Ylang essential oil is a perfect solution! 

It is also considered as a natural remedy dating back to the Victorian era where the Ylang Ylang oil was also included along with their Macassar hair oil. When massaged into the scalp generously it strengthens the hair follicles and attenuates hair loss.  

Used as an Insect repellant 

Possessing insecticidal elements, the Ylang Ylang essential oil is stated to be one of the ingredients used in the invention of insect repellant that could drive away insects, arachnids, and other arthropods. Also, in one of the studies published in the ‘Journal of young pharmacists’, it has been reported that cornstarch along with the combination of Ylang Ylang essential oil and citronella oil has results of working as an efficacious insect-repellent which is supposedly safe for humans as well as animals.

May Help Reduce Asthma Symptoms

In many parts of the world, Ylang Ylang flowers are pounded into paste and used as an inhalant to treat asthma.

How to Use Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang in a Diffuser

I love to diffuse Ylang Ylang essential oil either alone or in a diffuser blend such as the ones I’ve shared below. Just a few drops help me with relaxation and feelings of tranquility.

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Ylang Ylang as a Perfume

To use this oil as a perfume you could simply apply some behind your ears or on your pulse points. Additionally, you could add some to an essential oil diffuser necklace or bracelet.

Aromatherapy Necklaces:

Aromatheraphy Bracelets:

To create a hair or skin-based perfume that allows the fragrance to linger around for a longer time:  Add 1 to 1.5 ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle. Then add 7-10 drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil and 2 teaspoons of Aloe Vera gel.. Spray it on the hair or skin, wherever you wish to enjoy the aroma and therapeutic properties of Ylang Ylang essential oil.

Other Ways to Use Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Add it to your lotion or a non comedogenic carrier oil to enjoy its moisturizing properties.

Mix 1–3 drops with coconut oil for a deep-conditioning hair treatment that will leave hair smelling sweet and floral.

Add it to a hot bath to create a relaxing atmosphere to help you unwind after a long day.

What Blends Well With Ylang Ylang Essential Oil?

Ylang Ylang is a middle-base note essential oil.

The Ylang-Ylang essential oil could be blended with a wide range of essential oils like Lemon, Sandalwood, Bergamot, Patchouli, Cinnamon Bark, Frankincense, Tangerine, Geranium, Grapefruit, Ginger, Marjoram, Orange, Sandalwood or Vetiver to name just a few. In case you want to blend it with a suitable carrier oil, Coconut oil, Jojoba oil or even avocado oil would be great choices.

Diffuser Blends with Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Good, Clean Sun

  • 5 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
  • 5 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop Ravintsara essential oil
  • 1 drop Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil

Sweet Springtime Renewal

  • 2 drops Grapefruit essential oil
  • 2 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

Floral Glow

  • 6 drops Royal Hawaiian™ Sandalwood essential oil
  • 4 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
  • 2 drops Idaho Balsam Fir essential oil
  • 2 drops Frankincense essential oil

Click the image below for a free three-page PDF with Ylang Ylang Diffuser Recipes

Mission Accomplished

  • 3 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops Northern Lights Black Spruce essential oil
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
  • 1 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil

Living the Fine Life

  • 3 drops Patchouli essential oil
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
  • 1 drop Black Pepper essential oil

Ylang Ylang Side Effects

Ylang Ylang contains several allergens, such as isoeugenol. It has been to contact dermatitis in some people, particularly those with sensitive skin and can be irritating to skin when applied topically.

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. For more information on essential oils and pets, see this post.

Ylang Ylang is generally regarded as 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.

You may enjoy this brief video about Ylang Ylang essential oil:

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