What Everybody Ought to Know About Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

ylang ylang flower

Ylang Ylang essential oil, is a sweet floral oil that has many beauty and health benefits. This oil is extracted from beautiful bright yellow tropical flowers of the Cananga tree. Ylang Ylang is native to Indonesia but is found across many islands like Madagascar, the Philippines and the Polynesian islands.

The Cananga Tree is a tropical, evergreen tree that kind of looks like a Christmas tree because of the way its branches are shaped. These magical flowers have such a strong and beautiful fragrance that the scent can be smelled as far as 30 feet away from the Cananga tree. Ahhh don you just wish you were on the beach in the Philippines smelling the Cananga tree right now?

Ylang Ylang Meaning and Origins

The word Ylang Ylang originates from the Tagalog word ilang-ilang. Tagalog is a language spoken in the Philippines that was influenced by both English and Spanish.

Ylang Ylang means “a flower of all flowers” and is said to have been named after an old Philippine legend. A Filipino couple who could not have kids, was approached in their dreams by Gods who promised them a baby girl under one condition.

The condition was that the girl must never touch a man when she becomes a woman. The parents gladly accepted this condition and had a beautiful baby girl named ilang (meaning flower).

Ilang was a beautiful woman and received constant attention from men, but never touched them. One day when her parents were gone, Ilang wandered out to the garden to pick flowers. In the garden she ran into a man who had been admiring her for a while and grown to love her from afar. They held hands and he asked her to be his wife.

She instantly disappeared and a cananga tree in full bloom with fragrant yellow flowers was left in her place. This is how ylang ylang, flower of all flowers came to be.

Ylang Ylang Pronunciation

So you’re intrigued by the amazing powers of Ylang Ylang essential oil, but you’re probably wondering …. how the heck to pronounce it? Have no fear, we’ll set the record straight so you’ll know exactly how to say this tricky phrase.

It is pronounced: Ilang-ilang or ee-lahng-ee-lahng according to the dictionary. If you struggle with phonetics … here is a video that will make it much easier to know how to say it 🙂

What does Ylang Ylang Smell Like?

This beautiful flower smells fruity, fresh, sunny, rich and slightly spicy. Some even say it has a hint of vanilla mixed in. This floral scent is not one you want to go through life without experiencing for yourself.

Ylang Ylang Distillation and How to Buy Ylang Ylang Oil

The time of day that flowers are harvested makes an incredible impact on how strong the fragrance is of this essential oil. During the high temperatures of the daytime, the oil retreats to the tree to help the tree prevent dehydration.

The ideal time to harvest ylang ylang flowers is in the middle of the night when the petals are full of oil. The flowers are harvested starting at sunrise since it can be difficult to see at night.

The flowers start out as a yellow-green color but become more yellow over time. You can tell they are at the perfect harvest time when they are a buttercup yellow.

For the best quality, the fragile ylang ylang flowers must be distilled within two hours of being picked. The distillation process can take upwards of 12 hours. This oil is distilled in fractions which means the process is stopped at different time intervals and the oil created at each phase is removed. The first hour of uninterrupted distillation produces “complete” or “extra” ylang ylang essential oil (the highest grade and quality).

After the first hour of distillation is complete, the oil produced is removed and the distillation process continues for several more hours to create the I, II and III fractions. The higher fractions like III contain less constituents and are typically used for perfumes, while complete ylang ylang oil is best for therapeutic uses.

Plant Therapy is a great company to buy oils from because they aren’t overpriced like the MLM companies and they are very transparent about the quality of their oils. They even put batch reports on their website like this one.


7 Benefits and Uses of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

        1. It can help you fall asleep

          Having a hard time falling asleep or battling insomnia? Lying in bed wishing you could be asleep is such a terrible feeling. Even minutes seem like hours when you can’t fall asleep. If these problems sound familiar then it will definitely be worth it for you to try using essential oils like ylang ylang to help soothe you to sleep at night. The sweet scent of this oil helps calm the mind and is said to be a very mild sedative to aid with sleep. It’s also helpful to avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon if you consistently find yourself tossing and turning at night.

          Another tip is to leave your cell phone, iPad, laptop, whatever device you’re glued to, in another room outside of your bedroom at night. Scrolling through Facebook or work emails before going to bed will just stimulate your mind and make it more difficult to fall asleep. That bright glow of electronics makes it hard for your body to know it’s time to go to sleep and start relaxing.

          Try diffusing ylang-ylang oil for 20 minutes before you want to fall asleep and start quieting your mind.

          You can also try adding a couple of drops of ylang ylang oil behind your ears, under your nose, and on your sternum to help you drift right off without the tossing and turning. This is calling using “neat” ylang ylang because you are not diluting it or diffusing it but just putting it directly on the skin.

          Certain brands and types of ylang ylang essential oils cannot be directly applied to the skin so be sure to follow the directions on the label of the bottle to see if it’s safe to apply and what the safe number of drops is (typically 1-3 drops will do just fine).

        2. Use Ylang Ylang Essential Oil For Treating Lice

          Getting lice is embarrassing, uncomfortable and super annoying. Good news for you is that if you unfortunately happened to have these little critters create a home on your scalp, ylang ylang oil is a great natural solution to eliminating lice.

          WebMD cites that “Developing evidence suggests a skin spray containing ylang ylang oil, anise oil, and coconut oil is 92% effective for killing head lice in children. It seems to work about as well as a spray containing bug-killers such as permethrin and malathion.”
          Check out the full guide here on eliminating lice with essential oil.

        3. Anxiety/stress relief

          The everyday hustle and bustle has plagued so many people with really high stress levels and even anxiety. Aromatherapy has shown in many studies to help reduce stress and help you calm down.

          You can diffuse ylang ylang oil to make your room smell incredible and help soothe your mind. This floral scent can aid in making you feel calmer, happier and less stressed. Even just the act of diffusing this oil is so powerful because it means that you are actively taking one baby step towards treating yourself and taking a few minutes to relax and give yourself a break.

        4. Aphrodisiac

          In Indonesia, ylang ylang flower petals were traditionally used to adorn the beds for newlyweds because of their strong fragrance and aphrodisiac properties. So if you want to spice up your life in the romance category and increase your sexual desire, you could use ylang ylang essential oil blend in a hot bath or diffuser by your bed side.

        5. Hair growth

          This is a great oil to use to enhance hair growth and hair thickening. You can create your own all natural hair products at home to replace the synthetic and chemically loaded hair products. Checkout this hair growth guide if you want recipes for an essential oil hair spritz, hair mask and shampoo. It’s pretty easy to make your own hair care package at home and it will save you money too!

        6. Skin – clearing acne

          Acne is something that plagues most of us in the teenage years and continue to haunt some of us long after. If you want an all-natural alternative for treating acne, ylang ylang oil can help clear your skin.

        7. Perfume

          Ylang ylang has such a strong, sweet and floral scent that it is a common ingredient in many popular perfumes. Fun fact… the infamous Channel No. 5 uses ylang ylang as an ingredient in its intoxicating perfume formulation.

          If you like the scent of ylang ylang, you can search for perfumes that have it as an ingredient but keep in mind that commercial perfumes will typically use a lower grade ylang ylang fraction.

          If you want to use the perfume for additional benefits besides just smelling delightful, it’s best to make your own at home so you can control the ingredients. Here are some good ideas on how to make your own perfume from Wellness Mama.

How to use Ylang Ylang Oil

You typically don’t want to put essential oil directly on your skin because it can cause reactions, so you’ll want to dilute the ylang ylang oil properly before use. Here are the different ways you can enjoy this sweet oil.

  • Make a massage oil: Use 1 ounce of a carrier oil such as Sweet Almond Oil with 11 drops of ylang ylang oil.
  • Diffuse it: using a diffuser is a great way to enjoy the oil and make your home smell wonderful.
  • Make your own lotion, perfume or body spray and include ylang ylang as an ingredient.

Good scent pairings: Ylang ylang pairs really well with lavender, sandalwood, cedarwood and sweet orange if you want some inspiration for blend ideas.

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