Ylang Ylang Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects

From easing anger and depression to treating hair, the ylang ylang oil benefits are numerous. Besides these, the enticing fragrance of ylang-ylang essential oil promotes both mental and emotional balance.

With the sweetest scents and unique blend of natural compounds, ylang ylang essential oil is known to offer great health benefits. Let’s understand about this incredible oil in detail.

What Is Ylang-Ylang Oil?

Ylang ylang essential oil is extracted from the flowers of Cananga odorata through the process of steam distillation. For the production of Ylang-ylang essential oil, the flowers are handpicked early in the morning and distilled immediately.

Cananga odorata or commonly known as ylang-ylang is a fast growing tree and belongs to the Annonaceae family. They are also known as custard apple family. (1)

The tree has beautiful drooping branches that carry clusters of golden yellow and large star-shaped flowers. The tree usually grows up to 60 feet. However, the flowers bloom throughout the year.

The tree is native to Southeast Asia, but due to its economic importance or ever since its commercialized, it is now been cultivated in most tropical and subtropical areas. (2, 3)

Ylang-ylang essential oil are usually sold in four different grades, which are:

  • Ylang ylang extra
  • Ylang ylang first
  • Ylang ylang second
  • Ylang ylang third

The oil is graded based on:

  • The time of the distillation
  • The intensity of the fragrance

The grade “Ylang ylang extra” is the best because it is the product of the initial extraction and has the most substantial amounts of esters and the sweetest scents.

The extra grade oil is extracted after 2 hours of distillation whereas grade three is produced after 20 hours of distillation.

benefits of ylang ylang oil for skin

Scientific Name Of Ylang Ylang Oil

The botanical name of ylang ylang is Cananga odorata.

History Of Ylang Ylang Oil

Did you know that the scents of ylang ylang flowers are strong that you can even smell them from a far distance?

Yes, that’s true.

Though the oil has recently come into the limelight, its use dates back to the ancient times when Indonesians used it to make their hair look denser. It was the first hairstyling product used a hundred years ago.

The indigenous people of the Philippines and the healers made oils and ointments from the ylang-ylang flowers to treat cuts, burns, bruises, and wounds.

Back in the 1880s, the western men used “Makassar oil” to groom and set their hair. Ylang-ylang essential oil was a part of Makassar oil and was famous during the 1800s and early 1900s.

In Indonesia and other islands of the Indian Ocean, the oil was an essential part of the newlywed celebrations. It was considered as one of the most potent aphrodisiacs.

Both in the eastern and western parts of the world, the ylang-ylang flowers and its oil was used as a therapeutic and relaxing medicine.

Colour, Consistency, and Smell Of Ylang Ylang Oil

  • The colour of ylang ylang oil is pale to deep yellow.
  • The consistency of ylang ylang oil is medium.
  • The smell of ylang ylang oil is fresh, rich, sweet, floral, slightly fruity, and delicate.

Properties Of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

The therapeutic properties of Ylang-Ylang essential oil include:

  • Analgesic – Reduces pain sensation
  • Antibacterial – Prevents bacterial growth
  • Antidepressant – Alleviates depression
  • Antifungal – Prevents fungal growth
  • Anti-infectious – Prevents uptake of infection
  • Anti-inflammatory – Alleviates inflammation
  • Antimicrobial – Prevents microorganism growth
  • Antioxidant – Inhibits oxidation
  • Antiseptic – Destroys microbes and prevents their development
  • Antispasmodic – Prevents or relieves spasms, convulsions, or contractions
  • Antitussive – Relieves coughs
  • Aphrodisiac – Increases sexual desire
  • Balsamic – Soothes sore throats, coughs, etc.
  • Calmative – Sedative and a calming agent
  • Cicatrizing – Promotes the formation of scar tissue, thus healing
  • Circulatory – Promotes the flow of blood and lymph
  • Deodorant – Masks or removes unpleasant smell
  • Disinfectant – Helps the germs from further development
  • Emollient – Soothes and softens the skin
  • Hypnotic – Has a sedative effect
  • Hypotensive – Lowers blood pressure
  • Nervine – Acts on nerves; relieves nervous disorders
  • Sedative – Relaxes psychological and physical activity
  • Spasmolytic – Eases smooth muscle spasm
  • Stimulant – Increases the overall function of the body
  • Tonic – Invigorates, restores, and refreshes the bodily functions

Chemical Compounds In Ylang Ylang Oil

The chemical compounds in ylang ylang essential oil (grade third) include germacrene (28.2%), Benzyl benzoate (9.1%), (E,E)-a-Farnesene (8.6%), Benzyl acetate (7.9%), Linalool (7.4%), b-Caryophyllene (7.1%), Geranyl acetate (3.7%), p-Cresyl methyl ether (3.3%), (E,E)-Farnesyl acetate (2.6%), a-Caryophyllene (2.5%), (E)-Cinnamyl acetate (2.4%), (E,E)-Farnesol (2.3%), Methyl benzoate (2.0%), (Z)-3-Hexen-1-yl benzoate (1.6%), Bicyclogermacrene (1.0%), a-Cadinol (1.0%), 3-Methyl-2-buten-1-yl acetate (1.0%), and  Isoeugenol (0.2%) (4).

The Chemical composition of the ylang-ylang essential oil differs based on the grade, places of production and distillation method.

health benefits of ylang ylang essential oil

Health Benefits Of Ylang-Ylang Oil

Though the ylang ylang oil benefits are abundant, the most prominent ones backed by recent research include:

1. Great for hair

An excellent styling tip for Afro-textured hair is to moisturize using ylang-ylang essential oil. Afro-textured hair has a fine texture, making it more prone towards hair fall. This is mainly due to the tight curls. It can only be avoided by moisturizing the hair often and maintaining the scalp in good condition.

Besides being a styling product, ylang-ylang essential oil is an exceptional remedy for alopecia as well. The oil is also helpful to cure conditions like dandruff (5, 6, 7, 8).

You can also prepare a hair rinse for Afro-textured hair by mixing 1 tablespoon of Organic cider vinegar with 240 ml of spring water, 3 drops of Ylang-ylang oil, and 4 drops of Orange sweet essential oil. Use it as a hair rinse whenever required.

2. Lowers blood pressure

Ylang-ylang oil is one of the best essential oil you can trust when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety. To avoid the side effects caused due to the regular intake of medicines that lower blood pressure, you can definitely opt for essential oils. Ylang-ylang is easily available and it is actually a smart solution.

Ylang-ylang oil is one of the best essential oils you can trust when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety. To avoid the side effects after regular intake of medicines that also tend to lower your blood pressure, you can opt for essential oils. Ylang-ylang is readily available, and it is a natural solution.

Many scientific studies have proved that inhaling the aroma of ylang-ylang essential oil has a tremendous effect on reducing the blood pressure levels by improving the heart’s health.

Scientists have found that inhaling its scents alleviate excitation of nervous system and palpitation (9, 10, 11, 12).

3. Increases blood circulation

Poor circulation in limbs can cause various problems in the body – no matter what your age is. Feet and legs are the first parts to be affected, as they are more prone to poor circulation.

Vascular veins, cold feet, and swelling ankles are a few of its symptoms. Exercise, healthy eating habits, and preventing leg ulcerations are crucial in this condition. Continual stress has a destructive effect on blood circulation.

Based on various studies, the aroma of the ylang-ylang essential oil decreases stress and gives instant relaxation. The topical application of the oil eases pain and discomfort in the legs.

This is mainly due to the chemical compounds – Linalool & a-Cadinol. They are absorbed into the skin and help increase blood circulation, strengthening the vascular system (13).

Make sure you dilute the oil with a suitable carrier oil of your choice. Massage the feet and legs before bed and wash it with lukewarm water in the morning.

4. Strengthens the nervous system

Ylang ylang essential oil is excellent for your nervous system. It also acts as a brain booster. Stress and anxiety are the two primary reasons for most nervous disorders.

Scientific studies have proven that the fragrance of ylang-ylang essential oil reduces the nervous excitation and palpitation, further preventing you from serious nervous disorders (14, 15).

Inhaling the aroma of the oil relaxes your mind immediately and acts as a sedative. Just a sound sleep can cure most health issues and keeps you fresh when you wake up. Appropriate usage of the oil can even boost your memory.

All you have to do is to diffuse the oil in a room using a diffuser or vaporizer. Make sure you do not congest yourself with the aroma.

5. Eases menstrual cramps

Stress, work pressure, economic pressure, malnutrition, and obesity are some of the most significant issues that make menstruation difficult. The cramps are worst, and they get worse during the night.

It disturbs your sleep cycle and makes you feel frustrated throughout the day.

However, ylang-ylang essential oil helps you to overcome menstrual fatigue and gives you a calm sleep. It also relieves pain and discomfort. The oil when absorbed through the skin provides instant relief. (16)

Blend 5 drops of ylang ylang oil, 3 drops of eucalyptus lemon oil, and 5 drops of lavender oil. Take 3 drops from the mixture and dilute it using 2 tablespoons of carrier oil of your choice. Massage the diluted oil on the back and lower abdomen before you sleep.

6. Fights insomnia

Sleep is more like a “restart” button of your life. Our body tends to repair itself during rest and sleep. It is the time when it rejuvenates and heals. In yoga, they call this “yoga nithra,” meaning, a blessing.

Deep sleep is the time when your body receives energy from cosmos to function correctly. Electronic gadgets, technology, and modern lamps make it difficult to fall asleep or achieve deep sleep.

Ylang-ylang essential oil helps you to better sleep within minutes. It is a well-known sedative. It also stops your mind from overthinking and relaxes it. Just diffuse the ylang-ylang oil in the room for good sleep (17).

7. Gets rid of chronic fatigue

Chronic fatigue is the result of poor circulation, sleep deprivation, stress, unhealthy eating habits, and anxiety. Continuous stress is destructive to your health.

Chronic fatigue is the first apparent sign of any severe illness. You would find yourself always tired (18, 19).

“Rest” alone would not improve the condition. Siddha medical system suggests you detox your body, clean your gut, exercise, practice pranayama and yoga regularly.

Here, ylang-ylang essential oil helps you to overcome stress and gives you good sleep. You can add 2 to 3 drops of Ylang-ylang essential oil in your evening bath for circulatory benefits. It helps you to overcome extreme exhaustion.

8. Effective against depression

Depression is a serious mood disorder, which is least cared or spoken about. It is a mental condition where you lose interest in the activities that you were always interested to do once. It is the state of being “sad” all the time.

Though the exact cause of depression is not known, scientists say changes in the neural circuit or its activities may be a cause.

However, essential oils aid you in the process of overcoming depression. Ylang-ylang essential oil helps to strengthen your nervous system, makes you feel fresh after a good sleep. It also induces endorphin release. Inhaling the aroma of the ylang-ylang oil is of great help in this case.

9. Soothes stomach spasms

Sudden contraction of abdominal muscles, stomach, or intestine causes stomach spasms. They usually cure themselves within some time. However, there may be some underlying cause for it.

Severe constipation, dehydration, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome are some of the underlying causes.

Topical application of ylang-ylang essential oil relaxes the muscles and eases the discomfort. Always make sure you use the oil in a higher dilution (20).

10. Increases your self-esteem

Saints usually say that the capabilities of human life are enormous. You could easily find people doubting their own potential. Maintaining high self-esteem helps in recognizing your potential, trusting your judgment, and taking pride in what you do. It brings a sense of courage in you and they say that “bold is always beautiful.” (21)

Increase your self-esteem by blending 10 drops of ylang ylang oil with 2 drops of vetiver oil, 4 drops of bergamot oil, and 12 drops of sandalwood oil. Use 2 to 3 drops from the blend in bath or shower. You can also inhale the aroma of the mixture.

What Blends With Ylang Ylang Oil?

Ylang-Ylang oil blends the best with:

How To Use Ylang Ylang Oil?

The Ylang Ylang essential oil is one of the purest oil that you can get in the market. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has given it the GRAS status, which means “generally recognized as safe” for its intended use. The ylang-ylang essential oil is safe to use in food, given that it is solvent-free.

  • Topical Application: Using undiluted ylang-ylang essential oil or using at lower dilution may cause skin irritation. It is always better to use the oil at a higher dilution. Perform a patch test before using the oil on the skin or deciding to use it all over your body.
  • Aromatherapy: Diffuse the oil using a diffuser or vaporiser for aromatherapy benefits. It is better to use the oil moderately.
  • Ingestion: Ylang ylang essential oil is not recommended for oral intake.

Side Effects Of Ylang Ylang Oil

  • Excessive use of Ylang-ylang essential oil may cause headache or nausea in a sensitive individual.
  • The Ylang-ylang essential oil acts as a sedative. So, do not inhale it in excess.
  • In sensitive individuals, the oil may cause skin irritant or hypersensitivity.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using oil.
  • Avoid using the oil on children, especially under the age 6.
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