“Ee-lang Ee-lang” is the pronunciation of Ylang-Ylang which is also the amazing ingredient for this article. Have you come across the story behind the ylang-ylang flower? Well, even though it is just a story it is fascinating to know that the essence of this flower is so powerful that it was given the credit of being the goddess of scent in the narration.
It is said that when the God of beauty was assigning each flower the fragrance it should carry; the ylang-ylang flower was questioned what it would do if blessed with a beautiful scent. The flower meekly but hesitatingly replied, she would surely be thankful for it but suggested to bestow the gift to the grass, stating the reason that the flowers of the grass would be stepped upon and that she already had the advantage of growing to the height equal to other flowers.
Listening to this the God of beauty was mightily pleased and gifted her a beautiful and magical scent to spread love among all living creatures on earth.
With the flower being described so authentic and sensational, it would be worth knowing about the oil derived from it and the benefits one could procure by utilizing it. Hence, this article describes in length about the Ylang-ylang essential oil.
Also called the ‘The perfume tree’ or ‘The Macassar oil paint’ in colloquial terminology, the Ylang-ylang tree is native to Java, Sumatra, Philippines, Polynesia, Indonesia. Usually found in the tropical rainforests of this region, the scientific name of this tree is Cananga odorata.
The plant and the oil found different uses in different regions.
In the Philippines, the 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.
Kama Ayurveda’s Pure Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is derived from tropical Ylang Ylang. It is a pure floral essential oil with a sensual and exotic fragrance that promotes inner peace, confidence, and relaxation.
Through this, the uses of the ylang-ylang, in general, are understood. Next, let us understand more in detail about this essential oil
The essential oil of the Ylang-Ylang is extracted through steam distillation of the plant’s flowers. These flowers are star-shaped and have a yellow pigment. The oil extracted varies in the intensity of the scent. The sequential activity of the extraction divides them into various grades. It is stated that the oil could be extracted from its flower up to four times.
In total there are 5 diversifications present in the Ylang-ylang oil. The oil derived from the first 1-2 hours of the distillation process is called ‘Extra’. The next I, II, III grades are obtained in the subsequent hours by fragments of time specifically determined. The Ylang-ylang ‘Complete’ belongs to the fifth category grading. The final one is rolled-out after undergoing almost 6-20 hours of the distillation process.
The oil of this plant would be described as fruity and sweet with a subtle floral and pungent essence. Even the Ylang-ylang ‘Complete’ version retains most of the essence of the original flower and is known to be more herbaceous than the previous distillation products. Because of which the scent would be slightly lighter as compared to the ‘Extra” counterparts.
The major component present in this oil is stated to be linalool. Even the lavender, basil, and coriander oil are known to have this ingredient. The Ylang-ylang is named to be one of the higher complex essential oils. There are close to 100 different components present in substantial amounts. Some other prominent components present in this oil are geranyl acetate, germacrene-D, Benzyl acetate, methyl benzoate, farnesene.
It is stated that the Ylang-Ylang flowers should be hand-picked during the nocturnal hours to prevent the diminishing of its highly aromatic compounds.
Now that we have understood in general about what Ylang-ylang essential oil is, next, let’s understand the benefits that this oil provides.
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 apprehensions. The scent of this flower when utilized in aromatherapy has been stated to reduce the stress and anxiety level among nurses, based on a study conducted in 2006.
According to a study performed 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.
The linalool, germacrene-D as well as geranyl acetate are known to have antifungal properties that work against any 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.
It has been reported that the fresh and unprocessed paste of the flowers could treat asthma. However, this use has been stated to originate from traditional customs and a fresh study on this claim is indispensable.
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. However, extensive research on the Ylang-ylang essential oil on this subject is still needed.
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 newly-wed couples which is a folk remedy. Even though there is no 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. Further studies are needed to confirm the same.
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. It is strongly discouraged to apply any essential oil directly on the skin, hence the use of a carrier oil also possessing properties that work against acne would be recommendable.
A combination of the Ylang-ylang essential oil along with anise and coconut oil have credentials of 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 claiming to battle head lice.
There has been a pilot study that claims the use of Ylang-ylang essential oil along with the rose essential oil boosts 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 kind-off sedates the mind, relaxes the body, and punches in an optimistic environment around the atmosphere.
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. Also, the aroma of this oil is known to please the senses by emitting a gratifying fragrance.
This oil encourages the growth of hair and conditions the hair shafts. It is even known to detangle and soothe out dandruff formation and consecutive itchiness. This in entirety reduces hair fall effectively and promotes hair growth. 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.
This oil is known to possess a floral-sweet oriental scent. Because of these properties, it finds favor as a preferred perfume across the globe. Also, its exotic components of reducing anxiety and enhancing calmness qualify it as a common ingredient to be considered by perfume manufacturing companies. The fragrance of this flower is also considered to closely resemble the scent of jasmine. It is stated to have a quality associated with cinnamon yet quite feminine.
Owning 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.
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.
These were the benefits one could derive from this oil, no wonder the Ylang-ylang flower is called the goddess of flowers!
Next, let’s dive into understanding the uses of the Ylang-ylang essential oil.
After knowing the benefits broadly based on the ingredients this essential oil contains, you might be interested in understanding how you can use Ylang Ylang oil to imporve your health and well-being. In this section, we’ll summarise the use of this oil for skin care, hair care and aromatherapy.
The utilization of this oil for skin benefits are plenty. To begin with, a huge population, globally, ends up dealing with acne some or the other time in their life. This oil can put that worry to rest. It is known to treat acne as it reduces the breakouts as well as diminish the blemishes with its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory components.
Also, the Ylang-ylang essential oil is stated to boost the regeneration of skin cells, relaxing tight muscles, and at the same time attenuating the wrinkles. Because of which it is highly acclaimed for possessing anti-aging properties. Also, it stimulates the natural radiance and glow of the skin.
When used topically or cosmetically this oil banks the credit of being able to balance and maintain the oil production and of providing firmness to the skin by toning it. Whether the skin is oily or dry it rectifies the amount of oil produced by the sebaceous glands and keeps it in check by feeding the right amount of moisture to the skin. Perfect hydration and prevention of any bacterial or fungal attack are possible with the usage of this essential oil.
Since this oil contains antiseptic ingredients it is even known to facilitate the healing of wounds and keeps infections at bay.
On applying and massaging the ylang-ylang essential oil onto the scalp and hair it allows the hair to look healthy, strong as well as nourished. It possesses components that encourage the growth and appearance of healthy hair.
This 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 could do the work.
It can even regulate the oil production of the scalp leaving your hair with the right amount of shine and bounce and also lessening the complications caused by dry hair. As it contains anti-fungal properties it could even ward off dandruff. Its mild insecticidal property gives it the potential to combat lice infestation when used with specific other essential oils.
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 showcase a positive edge and uplift a person’s thoughts.
Its floral and pleasant essence makes it a powerful and ideal ingredient to be utilized in perfumes for both men as well as women. The anti-depressing properties of this oil can eliminate negative emotions or any feeling of fatigue, shock, or nervousness.
The well-known aphrodisiac properties of this oil address and eliminates issues that would reduce the sensuality between a couple. It is even reputed to augment the libido level.
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. Hence, it is also known to work wonders for those having insomnia.
These were the note-worthy uses of the ylang-ylang essential oil. Lastly, let's understand how to utilize this marvelous essential oil in a normal routine to reap its benefits.
The Ylang-Ylang Essential oil could be used for different means. Following is a detailed understanding of how one could implement this in their regimen based on the needs.
To apply this oil on the skin for cosmetic purposes always remember to dilute the ylang-ylang essential oil with a carrier oil as directly applying the essential oil could harm the skin as it is very concentrated. So one could mix 1-2 drops of the ylang-ylang essential oil to 1 teaspoon of any carrier oil, preferably Jojoba oil or Coconut oil, and massage it gently over the skin.
While using this oil to moisturize and hydrate the skin, just add 1-2 drops of the Ylang-ylang essential oil to your regular face cream.
While using this oil for conditioning purposes all one has to do is add 2-3 drops of the ylang-ylang essential to a coconut carrier oil and blend it well. Next, massage the scalp effectively and apply it through the strands of the hair to detangle and add luster to the hair. Do this 20 minutes before showering then wash it away with a mild shampoo.
One could even create their conditioning hair oil and refrain from chemical-based products by adding 15 drops of this essential oil to half a cup of sweet almond carrier oil.
To use this oil as a perfume one could directly apply a few drops of the oil around a small area of clothing that would not brush against the skin directly.
One could diffuse the ylang-ylang essential oil with the help of a burner or essential oil diffuser. Adding just 2-3 drops of the oil would induce relaxation and stabilize tranquility.
To create a hair or skin-based perfume that allows the fragrance to linger around for a longer duration follow the next steps. Take 40 ml of distilled water in a spray bottle. After this add about up to 7-10 drops of the ylang-ylang essential oil along with 2 teaspoons of Aloe Vera gel and blend it well. Shake the mixture in the spray bottle thoroughly and allow the ingredients to mix well. Next, spray it on the hair or skin, wherever you wish to, similar to any regular perfume.
Before using this oil topically on a large area of skin, remember to perform a patch test for a few hours to eliminate any possibilities of a skin allergy or unsuitability of this oil for your skin.
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about Ylang Ylang oil, let’s look at some frequently asked questions about the oil.
Yes, studies have proven that ylang-ylang oil can reduce blood pressure considerably.
Ylang-Ylang oil has an earthy-fruity combined with a floral essence. One would even perceive a slight pungent fragrance to this oil.
Yes, it does benefit the hair in a couple of ways. Read the ‘uses of Ylang-Ylang essential oil for hair’ section in this article.
The Ylang-Ylang essential oil could be blended with a wide range of essential oils like Lemon, Sandalwood, Bergamot, Grapefruit to name a few. In case you want to blend it with a suitable carrier oil, Coconut oil, Jojoba oil or even avocado oil would be suitable
Finally, to end the article just like every other ingredient even the ylang-ylang essential oil could be harmful to the usage of certain individuals hence, it is strongly advised to seek the opinion of your general physician or dermatologist before incorporating this oil in your routine. Individuals suffering from low blood pressure are advised to avoid using this oil as inhaling the fragrance of this oil is known to reduce blood pressure and heart rate levels.
Shreya Dalela is a certified Yoga instructor and a professional dancer trained at The Danceworx. She’s passionate about Ayurveda and holistic living with over 6 years of experience in doing extensive research and content creation in the domain.
Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (Central Council of Indian Medicine) working in Kama Ayurveda as an Assistant Training Manager.