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Topics in Aromatherapy-Ylang Ylang

21 Feb

Ylang Ylang

Welcome to the 5th post in my blog series, Topic in Aromatherapy.  Each week I am focusing on an aspect of aromatherapy such as an essential oil or carrier oil and discuss their healing properties.  I also will discuss how to make some of your own natural products using essential oils.  So far, we have talked about jojoba oiltea tree oilsweet almond oil and lavender.

What is ylang ylang?

Ylang ylang is the common name for Cananga odorata, a fast growing tree with flowers that can reach a height of 40m.  It is grown in temperate climates.

The fragrance of ylang-ylang is  due to the components benzyl acetate, linalool, p-cresyl methyl ether, and methyl benzoate.  It has been said to smell like  rubber and custard with hints of jasmine and neroli (source).

What are the health benefits of ylang ylang?

Ylang ylang essential oil have been shown to:

  • Be antifungal and cytotoxic(source)
  • Repel beetles (source)
  • Be part of a compound, Slim339, which was shown to be a potential therapy for obesity (source)
  • Produce relaxation after applied on the skin (source)
  • Be antifungal, anti-mycobacterial, antimalarial and be able to kill human malignant melanoma cells (all in vitro)
  • Reduce psychological stress responses and serum cortisol (stress hormone that causes the retention of belly fat) (combination of lavender, ylangylang, and bergamot)  (source)
  • Reduce the blood pressure of individuals with essential hypertension (combination of lavender, ylangylang, and bergamot)  (source)

It has been shown that ylang-Ylang oil does not pose a health risk to humans (source)

How is ylang ylang used in aromatherapy?

As ylang ylang has shown to induce relaxation, this would be a great essential oil to put onto a pillow before you sleep or to add to a face scrub used at night.  Small quantities could be gently massaged into the temple or added to massage oil, lotions, etc.  People in the tropics actually use it to protect their hair from salt water damage. (source)


Have you ever heard of ylang ylang?  What scents do you find to be most relaxing?