What is ylang ylang? Ylang ylang is derived from the Cananga tree and is found in several countries, such as Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The flower has a star-shape and is yellow in color. The tree is rapid-growing and can add 16 feet per year under the right conditions. Known for its rich scent, ylang ylang is often processed into essential oils and can be found in many of the world’s leading perfumes. Aside from its aroma, it's also popular for the benefits of ylang ylang essential oils and traditional uses. Typically, the uses involve aromatherapy, although the essential oil can also be found in creams or applied to the skin.
Uses for Ylang Ylang
Ylang ylang is often used for home treatments and has a lot of anecdotal uses that haven’t been studied in-depth. Common uses include but are not limited to:
- Mood-boosting and enhancement
- Lower heart rate and blood pressure
- Stimulate skin and scalp oil production
- Calm stomach distress
- Ease headaches
- Help fight pneumonia
- Reduce the impact of sinus infections
- Relieve muscle tension
People that suffer from anxiety or depression often use ylang ylang as a means of boosting their mood and helping them cope with life’s stresses. There are also some people that claim this essential oil can be used as an aphrodisiac, but this has not been studied.
Aromatherapy works by sending messages to the brain’s limbic system. It's thought that essential oils have the ability to impact biological factors, such as breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and others.
Ylang Ylang Safety and Usage Basics
Some people, when the oil is applied directly to their skin, will experience an allergic reaction. Otherwise, the oil seems generally safe for children and adults when applied topically. There is no sufficient information on the safety of ylang ylang when taken orally, so avoid ingesting the oil.
Women that are nursing or pregnant will want to err on the side of caution and avoid using ylang ylang.
You can use this oil in several other ways:
- Add it to a facial steamer for aromatherapy
- Place a drop or two of the oil on your wrists
- Add drops into your conditioner
- Place a few drops into your bath for deep relaxation
Directions for use include:
- Topical. Apply one or two drops to the skin. If irritation occurs, add coconut oil or another carrier oil to see if it helps.
- Diffusion. If put in a diffuser, add three or four drops.
While oral administration hasn’t been thoroughly tested, people that do use this essential oil orally often dilute it significantly with a carrier oil.
If you have any signs of an allergic reaction or side effects, you’ll want to cease using this essential oil. Side effects are generally mild when applied topically and involve skin irritation.
Routine to Improve Sebum Production / Reduce Dry Skin
Essential oils may be able to stimulate sebum production of the skin. Anyone with skin that is already oily or that has oily hair can skip the oil for this use. People with dry, itchy scalps and skin may benefit from ylang ylang.
The typical treatment includes adding:
- 4 – 5 drops of essential oil
- 2 tablespoons oil
You'll apply the tincture to your scalp, being sure to massage it into the scalp as best you can. Most people will wrap their head in a warm towel to ensure that the oil can get as deep into the scalp as possible. Leave the oil in for 30 minutes before washing it out.
You can also add the essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner, and some varieties will already add the oil into the ingredients for you.
The essential oil also helps you moisturize brittle and dry hair, improving texture and also reducing the risk of hair breakage. If you want healthier hair, this is a routine that you’ll want to follow.
Benefits of Ylang Ylang Essential Oils
The uses for ylang ylang are vast, but the ones that have been studied are some of the most important benefits of ylang ylang, according to scientific research, they include:
Anxiety is a major part of life for nurses. A study from 2006 on nurses determined that the essential oil was able to reduce anxiety and stress. Serum cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure were all reduced, too.
The study is very promising because it demonstrated a high rate of success among nurses.
One concern with the study is that a variety of essential oils were added to the aromatherapy diffuser. The additional ingredients may have amplified the results or may be partially responsible for the positive impact on anxiety.
The additional ingredients included:
If you want to achieve the same results, it’s recommended that you add in these two additional essential oils.
Blood Pressure Reduction
People with high blood pressure should adhere to their doctor’s recommendations and continue taking their medication as normal. Essential oils can help further get your blood pressure under control and can be used as an alternative form of treatment.
A 2013 study looked at the impact of ylang ylang in men that were all healthy. The study focused on both heart rate and blood pressure. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure was significantly decreased following a session of aromatherapy. The control group that also underwent aromatherapy but without ylang ylang did not reach a significant level of blood pressure decrease.
There is also some evidence that the cortisol levels in participants fell during the session.
People have long been using ylang ylang as a form of stress relief, and science has shown that this oil may be able to reduce stress levels. Two main studies back these benefits, including:
- 2006 study on the relaxing effects of ylang ylang. The study included 40 volunteers, all of which had their physiological parameters monitored during the study. Blood pressure and breathing rate were also monitored. The blood pressure of participants dropped drastically, and skin temperature rose. Participants noted feeling more relaxed and less stressed overall.
- 2008 study that monitored mood and performance when using ylang ylang as a form of aromatherapy. The study included 144 participants and found that ylang ylang was able to significantly improve calmness while actually decreasing the alertness of participants.
Ylang ylang is a good, overall, form of stress relief, whether it’s applied topically or used in aromatherapy. Keep in mind that alertness was impaired in one study, so if you’re going to be driving shortly after or operating heavy machinery, you may want to skip your aromatherapy session.
The 2006 study mentioned in the previous section also monitored the depression levels of participants. While the study concludes that ylang ylang oil is likely to assist with stress and depression, additional studies are required to determine efficacy.
Participants in the study experienced a reduction in depression and stress.
You can use this form of aromatherapy, in conjunction with medication or therapy, as a natural way to boost your mood and reduce depression levels.
Ylang ylang is readily available and can be applied on the skin or inhaled using aromatherapy. If you do experience any side effects or skin reactions, cease usage. Anyone that is on blood pressure medication should consult with their doctor before using ylang ylang.