Ylang ylang is a kind of flower, yellow in color, and with a star shape. It grows on Cananga odorata (Cananga tree). It is a tropical plant, and native to countries around the Indian ocean. Countries in which Ylang Ylang can easily be found include the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and some parts of Australia. Ylang Ylang has an aromatic, and heady scent. The scent is rich, flowery, and fruity.
Ylang Ylang flower is usually used to produce many types of essential oil. The oil is produced through steam distillation. The scent of the oils varies in intensity.
Ylang Ylang essential oil works well as a top note in many perfumes, like the Channel Number Five.
The not-so-potent essential oils work best as medium-to-base notes in perfumes. They are also used for the production of lotion, cologne, soap, and food flavoring. Cananga oil is the most subtle form of ylang ylang.
Uses of ylang ylang essential oil
Studies have shown that ylang ylang essential oil helps with the following:
- Anti-depressive effects
- Mood booster
- Alleviates anxiety
- Lowers blood pressure
- Decreases heart rate
- Stimulates the production of oil in the skin as well as on the scalp.
- Repels flying insects and also kills bug larvae
Ylang ylang is also used as an aphrodisiac or as a sexual stimulant. However, the sexual benefits of ylang ylang essential oil are mainly anecdotal.
Historically, ylang ylang has also been used as an herbal, traditional treatment for the following conditions:
Health benefits of ylang ylang essential oil
Ylang ylang essential oil has some evidence-based health benefits. Some benefits are indicated by anecdotal evidence. For instance:
- One study found that ylang ylang had anti-anxiety effects and also boosted self-esteem in users when inhaled or applied to the skin. Its effect on mood (which is mostly positive) has been duplicated in other studies. It is also substantiated through anecdotal evidence.
- Ylang ylang also has a sedative effect. It significantly reduced diastolic and systolic blood pressure rates. The heart rate in healthy men was also reduced.
- Ylang ylang essential oil contains linalool. Linalool is a compound that possesses anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that it is very effective at fighting Candida albicans.
- In many regions of the world, ylang ylang is crushed into paste form, and used for the treatment of asthma (usually as an inhalant).
- In its dried form, ylang ylang flowers is used for the treatment of malaria symptoms in Asian countries.
- It is widely used as a folk remedy to boost sexual desire and minimize sexual anxiety.
Side effects of ylang ylang
Like every other essential oil, you mustn’t apply ylang ylang to the skin in its concentrated form. Ylang ylang essential oil should be mixed with a carrier oil before application. You should also conduct a patch test before applying it to large areas of the body, scalp, or face.
Ylang ylang has a poisonous effect on cats and dogs. Do not let your pet’s skin come in contact with the oil. The same goes with the coat or paws. Ensure that you do not use it where your pet might inhale or lick it.
Ylang ylang is safe as a food additive. But if you have an allergy, especially to its ingredients, then you’re better off avoiding it completely.
Different forms of ylang ylang essential oil
Ylang ylang can be marketed as an essential oil. In some cases, manufacturers may label it according to its ranking while distilling:
- Ylang ylang extra has a strong scent, but it doesn’t last for long. It dissipates quickly.
- Ylang ylang essential oils with the numbering of 1-3 have less potent scents, in the order in which they are numbered. However, the scents are denser and last longer. The subtlest scent belongs to the Cananga oil (Ylang Ylang 3).
- Ylang ylang complete essential oil has all four scent levels.
Ylang Ylang is also used as an ingredient in many hair and skin products, and also in massage oils, scented candles, cologne, and perfumes.
The right way to use Ylang Ylang essential oil
You can mix it with a carrier oil, and then use it for massage and dry skincare. You can also rub it on your scalp to enhance the production of oil as well as reduce skin dryness. Because some people are allergic to the components of ylang ylang, you must carry out a patch test and wait for 24 hours before usage.
- Ensure you dilute it before usage: For topical use, just add a drop of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil.
- Proper storage is important: Ylang ylang oil should be stored in a cool, and dark place.
- Monitor the quality of your oil: yes, it can last for a long time, so you can easily make some batches to store for one year or more. However, avoid using an expired oil, or one that has a rancid smell.
- Use ylang ylang with water in oil diffuser: You can inhale it for aromatherapy by using it in a room diffuser.
Shop for essential oil diffusers online
Ylang ylang is imbued with a sweet, and fruity scent. It is a major ingredient in many cosmetic products and perfumes.
Ylang ylang has many evidence-based health benefits, like anti-anxiety effects, blood pressure-lowering, etc. There is anecdotal evidence on its calming effect which may prove beneficial for relaxation as well as some disturbing conditions like a headache. Ylang ylang also contains some allergens and should be applied with caution on the skin.