Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: The Best Oil for Medicinal, Emotional, & Beauty Purposes

Ylang-ylang is a tropical plant that produces highly scented, yellow-green flowers. The name means ‘flower of flowers’. The words are from a Philippine expression that defines how the flowers flurry in the breeze. Ancient Indonesians used the sensual smell of the flowers to mist the bed linen of newly wedded couples.

Ylang Ylang essential oil has long been regarded as an aphrodisiac. Its fragrance is considered to be relaxing, yet highly euphoric. The fresh flowers of the plant are sold for individual as well as domestic decoration, and to scent fabrics.

The Origin of Ylang Ylang Tree

Ylang Ylang Tree

The oil is obtained from the aromatic flowers of Cananga odorata (a tropical Asian tree). It is native to Indonesia and Philippines, but it is also grown in Comoro Islands, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Ylang Ylang flower petals are sprinkled on the beds of newlywed couples by Indonesians. In Philippines, the flowers are used to embellish religious beings; while women wear strings of the flowers on their necks.

The plant was initially defined as Arbor saguisen by John Ray (botanist and English explorer). Future explorers referred to the plant as Unona odorata and Borga canaga. The very first individual to distil the essential oil of ylang ylang was Albert Schwenger in 1860. The Frenchman initiated large scale planting of the tree in Comoros Islands, Madagascar, and Reunion.

Traditionally, the seeds were used to alleviate intermittent fever, the leaves were massaged on the scalp and skin to ease itching, the flowers were used to treat malaria, and the petals were used to alleviate asthma. Rechier and Garnier (French chemists) discovered the therapeutic properties of the plant in the beginning of the twentieth century. They did their studies on Reunion Island, where the plant had significant effects against infections of the intestinal tract, typhus, and malaria.

The Basics of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil doterra

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil doterraDistillation method: Steam Distillation

Part of Plant: Flowers

Color: Clear with a Yellow Tinge

Scent: Fresh, floral, sweet, slightly fruity

The plant grows to a height of approximately eighty to a hundred feet tall, has smooth leaves, and large yellow aromatic flowers that grow into black fruit with numerous black seeds inside. The essential oil is obtained from the flowers through steam distillation. The produced oil is clear with a yellow tinge in color. Ylang Ylang oil is known for its sweet, soft, flowery aroma.

The oil’s fragrance and medicinal properties are due to various components such as; benzyl acetate, benzyl benzoate linalool, and methyl benzoate. The oil is made up of linalool, which is a compound that is vital for reducing stress. Its pleasing and mild scent makes it an effective essential oil that can be used for different medicinal purposes, including insomnia, colds, fever, sinus infections, and headaches. It is also useful for its following properties: antianxiety, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antidepressant, sedative, hypotensive, aphrodisiac, and antiseptic.

The documented properties of ylang ylang oil include aphrodisiac, relaxant, vulnerary, tonic, sudorific, stomachic, stimulant, laxative, insect repellant, hypotensor, hepatic, hemostatic, healing, febrifuge, expectorant, diuretic, digestive, diaphoretic, carminative, blood purifier, astringent, aperitive, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antiphlogistic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and abortifacient.

How to Use Ylang Ylang Essential Oil


massage with Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Massage is the most effective and commonly used form of application. It combines the healing power of touch with the properties of ylang ylang oil. Massage offers a very operational way of introducing the oil into the body. As your skin absorbs the oil, a resourceful amount is taken into the bloodstream in relatively short period. You can administer the essential oil of ylang ylang to the body by using a typical body massage.

This method of application is usually relaxing, involving mainly stroking and effleurage movements. It is reliable for alleviating tension, anxiety, and stress. As the oil is absorbed into the skin, the muscles relax, and the healing benefits manifest. Massage promotes a pleasing feeling of lightness and wellbeing. It soothes both the mind and the body.

Application of ylang ylang oil through massage profits you in the following ways: improves circulation of blood, aids relaxation by calming the nervous system, improves skin tone, increases muscle and joint mobility, enhances the removal of toxins; speeds up healing process, increases metabolism, improves digestion, reduces stiffness, spasms, pains, and aches, and relieves physical and mental fatigue.


inhaling Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Apart from massage, inhalation is an alternative method of applying ylang ylang essential oil. Inhalation is achieved through an aromatherapy diffuser, humidifier, and direct inhalation. When the fragrance is breathed in, the oil’s particles are quickly absorbed into the blood, and conveyed around the body. According to research, this is not the best therapy for skin conditions, but it certainly has powerful effects on the body.

Steam inhalation is a highly resourceful method, which provides a significant way of absorbing ylang ylang oil into the body through the sense of smell. Add one or two drops of ylang ylang aromatic oil in a steaming bowl of hot water, and cover yourself with a towel while taking a position that will allow you to inhale the vapor. This helps to alleviate respiratory congestion, as well as open up sinuses.

You can always opt for a gentler substitute to steam inhalation, such as diffusing ylang ylang oil. An aromatherapy diffuser provides a tender, ambient absorption, and it is one of the most recommended methods of application for children. Add a few drops of ylang ylang oil to the water chamber of your diffuser, and allow the device to mist the atmosphere of your room. Diffusing of natural oils cleanses the air, improves moods, and offers a pleasant aroma.

Safety Concerns

The very first step that you must take before using ylang ylang oil topically is conducting a patch test. To do this, apply a diluted version of the essential oil on the inner part of your elbow; cover it for twenty four hours to see if any allergic reactions form. Signs of allergic reactions may include rashes, swelling, or itching. Only use the oil if you do not develop such conditions.

Volatile oils are highly concentrated. Therefore, it is always important to follow the recommended dosage. Never attempt to use more because there are possible side effects. The difference in effect between a single drop and a couple of drops can be substantial. To begin with, do not ingest ylang ylang oil, and keep out of reach of children.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Avoid using the oil in the proximity of your eyes, and other sensitive areas. Take time to go through the precautions on the bottle before using. Use only 100% pure ylang ylang aromatic oil, and keep it away from any flames. Make sure the bottle is airtight, and stored away from light. You are strongly advised to dilute the oil with a vegetable oil before topical application and inhalation.

Allergic reactions to ylang ylang oil, including contact dermatitis, have been recorded, as well as confirmed by patch testing. No concrete data on the safety of ylang ylang oil in pregnancy/ lactation is chronicled. This post does not identify any concerns for use while pregnant or nursing.

Safety has not been irrefutably established, but you are strongly advised to avoid essential oils when pregnant, and during nursing

Avoid the use of ylang ylang oil if you are suffering from low blood pressure. Always use in moderation, because its fragrance can cause headaches along with nausea. Studies suggest that hypoglycemic individuals may develop low blood pressure with the use of ylang ylang oil. You should consult an aromatherapy specialist if you have any special conditions, and if you are pregnant or nursing. Do not use the oil if you will be driving a long distance, it can cause drowsiness.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Uses

Massage therapists, medical professionals, and aromatherapy experts prescribe ylang ylang essential oil to calm heart palpitations, and regulate respiration. People with high blood pressure can use the oil, but those with low blood pressure are discouraged because it will lower the pressure even further. The oil is soothing to the nervous system, since it alleviates muscle spasms, aches, and relaxes tense muscles. It offers relief for sciatica and backache.

It has significant effects when used with epilepsy patients, it helps bring seizures under control and circumvent attacks. Research indicates that it can benefit specific cases of diabetes. It is one of the best natural oils for treating feminine disorders, including premenstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, and irregular periods. In addition, it soothes the irritation as well as inflammation of skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

You can use ylang ylang essential oil to treat nervous tension along with insomnia, emotional exhaustion, and depression. The oil relaxes and calms agitated emotional states by subduing stress, stress-related disorders, and anxiety. Apart from stabilizing moods, it minimizes worrying, tension, frustration, fear, anger, and aggressive behavior by nurturing feelings of serenity, security, love, and confidence.

Ylang ylang is the best oil for stimulating a feeling of excitement, and it offers comfort during times of change. It raises your spirits by inspiring positive emotions. Studies state that the fragrance of the oil has cognitive effects. It can suggestively increase calmness, but reduce reaction times, alertness, and impair memory/processing speed.

Ylang ylang oil is beneficial to any type of skin. However, it is most effective for managing oily skin since it stabilizes oil production, and cuts on excessive oiliness. It is reliable for fighting bacterial infection, making it the ideal choice for controlling blemishes and acne. Continued research indicates that it can prevent premature aging, and eliminate wrinkles by relaxing facial tension.

Ylang ylang is an ingredient in perfumes, lotions, detergents, soaps, and cosmetics. It is broadly used in candy, baked goods, dairy desserts, regular and alcoholic beverages, and foods. It is referred to as macassar oil when combined with coconut oil. You can add one or two drops to a handkerchief and inhale, or add a few drops to a diffuser/humidifier mist your room.

Complimentary Oils and Blends

The essential oil of ylang ylang blends well with the following oils:

  • Lavender essential oil
  • Neroli essential oil
  • Jasmine essential oil
  • Clary sage essential oil
  • Sandalwood essential oil
  • Grapefruit essential oil
  • Bergamot essential oil
  • Marjoram essential oil
  • Lemon essential oil
  • Geranium essential oil
  • Vetiver essential oil
  • Frankincense essential oil
  • Palmarosa essential oil
  • Cinnamon leaf essential oil
  • Ginger essential oil
  • Black pepper essential oil
  • Juniper essential oil

 essential oil of ylang ylang blends

You must be careful when choosing aromatics oils that you can use in a blend with ylang ylang essential oil. Choose a minimum of three essential oils that can manage a specific condition. Then divide the oils into base note, middle note, and top note. Mix your essential oils by adding three drops of the top note for every two drops of the middle note, and for every drop of the base note.

Anxiety Relieving Blend Recipe


  • 10 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
  • 20 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops of clary sage essential oil

Preparation & Application: In a dark-colored, airtight glass bottle, add the essential oils, and shake well to mix. Then use the blend to massage your scalp as required.

In Conclusion

Ylang ylang essential oil is a reputable relaxing, and balancing oil since the 1800s. Its fresh, floral, sweet, slightly fruity aroma, along with its therapeutic properties makes it the most recommended volatile oil for medicinal, beauty, and emotional purposes. Ylang ylang essential oil benefits are best achieved through massage and inhalation. Moreover, it is one of the best base note oils for aromatherapy blends.

Sources and References

  1. BalinkBayan YLANG YLANG OIL
  2. NCBI Relaxing effect of ylang ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption
  3. EssentialCareoils Clinical Research: Golden Calm Ingredients

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