Ylang Ylang Oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 7:29 min

Ylang-ylang oil is extracted from the blossoms of the Indonesian ylang-ylang tree, Cananga odorata, and is considered a medical remedy in many countries.

Name Ylang Ylang
Lat. Name Cananga Odorata
Synonyms Ylang Ylang
Origin Philippines, Indonesia
Price per 10ml 9,90

The manufacturing process of the oil is much more complex than that of other essential oils and depending on the duration of the process, the fragrance of the oil also changes. It ranges from sweet and flowery to woody. Ylang-ylang oil is an essential fragrance note of the world-famous perfume Chanel No. 5.

Psychological impact

Ylang-ylang oil is able to influence the release of various hormones in the body. Hormones are natural substances that directly regulate mood. One of the hormones that is influenced by ylang-ylang oil is serotonin. Serotonin influences blood pressure and is responsible for whether one feels relaxed or agitated. A lack of serotonin leads to restlessness, nervousness and depression.

Ylang-ylang oil promotes the release of this hormone and has a strong calming effect on the mind.

Another hormone, the release of which is influenced by ylang-ylang oil, is enkephalin. It is an endogenous pain reliever that is closely related to opiates. A lack of enkephalin leads to depression and mood swings. The increased enkephalin release increases one’s self-confidence and efficiency.

The most important hormones, the production of which is stimulated by ylang-ylang oil, are the endorphin class. These are also known as the 'happiness hormones'. Low endorphin levels in the blood negatively affects mood and can cause depression. Ylang-ylang oil has a calming effect on the mind. Thanks to its relaxing, soothing properties, ylang-ylang oil can be used for sleep disorders and occasional insomnia.

Ylang-ylang oil not only affects hormonal balance, but also memory. Research however, indicates that ylang-ylang oil can negatively affect ones ability to concentrate. The oil is also known to be a strong aphrodisiac. It is said to increase the sex drive and promote libido.

Physical effects

Ylang-ylang oil not only has a major impact on the mind, but it can also be used against a wide range of physical conditions. Interestingly, ylang-ylang oil works best against pathogens when combined with other essential oils.

Together with thyme oil, it can destroy Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that is often resistant to antibiotics. Together with lavender and clary sage, it destroys Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans, all of which are ubiquitous and potentially lethal.

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High blood pressure

As mentioned above, ylang-ylang oil affects the release of serotonin in the body. This not only affects mood, it also affects blood pressure because serotonin is responsible for the size of the blood vessel diameter in the body. As the vessel wall tension changes, the pressure within the capillaries also changes.

Serotonin reduces the tension in the walls of the vessels, increasing the size of the blood vessel and lowering blood pressure. This effect of ylang-ylang oil also contributes towards treatment for tachycardia. This term means a persistently excessive heart rate (often over 100 beats per minute), accompanied with hypertension: high blood pressure

Menstrual cramps

One of the best-known effects of ylang-ylang oil is its effectiveness as a remedy for menstrual cramps. Ylang-ylang oil has a very strong antispasmodic effect, which reduces the cramps in the lower abdomen. The oil can also be used for premenstrual syndrome.

Skin care

The treatment of various skin conditions with ylang-ylang oil has proven to be particularly successful. Ylang-ylang oil is able to regulate the fat production in the sebaceous glands of the skin. Consequently, it helps with both oily and dry skin alike. If sebum is produced excessively ylang-ylang oil inhibits its production, and if production is too low, the sebum glands are stimulated.

The oil also possesses a strong antibacterial effect. This makes it very effective for inflammatory skin problems such as pimples. Ylang-ylang oil also inhibits the formation of melanin in the skin. It is therefore well suited to combat all types of hyperpigmentation, for example age spots. It also helps to compensate for the effects of overexposure to sunlight.

Athlete's foot

Another attribute of the oil is its strong anti-fungal effect. It works against all types of skin fungus, foot and nail fungus. The exact mechanism by which the oil works against fungi is not yet known. If the oil is dropped directly onto athlete's foot or nail fungus, fungal hyphae death occurs within a few days.

For cramps

Ylang-ylang oil has a strong antispasmodic effect. Therefore, it can be used effectively to treat muscle spasms and it also helps with severe stomach cramps.

Against insects

In Java and Vietnam, Ylang Ylang has traditionally been used as a remedy for malaria. Several studies show that ylang-ylang oil is ideal for repelling insects, especially against various types of mosquitoes.

Potential for diabetes

Japanese researchers have found that ylang ylang's plant compounds can be helpful in diabetes. They reduce aldose reductase, an enzyme catalyst that converts glucose to sorbitol. This is the first step in converting glucose to fructose. With diabetes mellitus, however, the body produces too much sorbitol, which subsequently accumulates in cells. This stored sorbitol exerts osmotic pressure and can cause damage to the nerves, kidneys and eyes.


Ylang-ylang oil is one of the few essential oils that are not irritating or directly damaging to human skin. The oil can therefore also be used in its pure form for external use. If you do not want to apply the oil directly, you can mix it in any amount with a commercially available care cream. If you want to use the oil purely as a fragrance oil, you can easily heat it in a diffuser or a fragrance lamp. For internal use, you should take the oil with a little honey as it has a bitter taste.


Ylang-ylang oil is extracted from the flowers of the ylang-ylang tree by means of fractional steam distillation. This process uses different boiling temperatures to extract the aromatic oils from the flowers.

During the first quarter of an hour, the finest quality is obtained, which is referred to as extra supérieure. In the following hour, the Ylang-Ylang oil of quality level Première I is produced. The Deuxième (II) quality is produced by the 6th hour and the Ylang Ylang Troisième (III) is distilled by the 20th hour.

The complete oil from the entire distillation contains all valuable ingredients and has an extraordinarily complex aroma profile. Manufacturers usually inform you about the quality of the ylang-ylang oil. The complete oil usually carries the additive completely.


Ylang-ylang oil has the following ingredients in different concentrations:

  • Methyl anisoles
  • Methyl benzoate
  • Benzyl acetate
  • Geranyl acetate
  • Linaloo
  • Beta-caryophylls
  • Germacren
  • (E, E) -α-Farnese

Methyl anisoles: This substance is known by various names, including cresyl methyl ether. It is a strong fragrance, boasting a smell reminiscent of anise.

Methyl benzoate Together with methylanisole, this substance is responsible for the characteristic smell of ylang-ylang oil. Orchid bees collect menthyl benzoate to make pheromones.

Benzyl acetate This substance can simply be made artificially from benzyl alcohol and acetic acid. Because of the floral smell, it is used as a fragrance. It is also used as a solvent.

Linalol The terpen linalool is found in numerous plants species, including rosemary, lavender and cannabis. It is often used as a flavorant and smell. This plant-based ingredient has relaxing, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

Beta-caryophylls This herbal cannabinoid docks on the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which is distributed throughout the body. It has analgesic, cheering, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Geranyl acetate This monoterpenoid is a combination of geraniol and acetic acid. Geraniol has a strong antioxidant effect and is used as a preservative in many cosmetics.

Germacren It is a volatile hydrocarbon that can destroy microbes and repel insects.

(E, E) -α-Farnese This substance is known as the "green apple aroma". This fragrance is the main component of essential oil, which is obtained from gardenias.

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The ylang-ylang tree was originally native to Indonesia and the Philippines. It was only in the 19th century that French perfumers discovered that the flowers were ideal as a fragrance. Ylang Ylang has traditionally been used as a medicinal plant to fight malaria.

The tropical tree's scientific name is Cananga odorata. It belongs to the largest family of magnolia species, the Annonaceae. It needs a lot of sun, moisture and fertile soil. In response, it grows up to 25 meters relatively quickly.

After around 5 years, the trees begin to develop lush inflorescences. The flowers have up to 6 cm long, yellow or light green petals and an intense smell. Today the tree is cultivated on numerous tropical islands around the equator, including Madagascar, Haiti and Zanzibar.

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