Ylang ylang, whose botanical name is Cananga odorata, is a tree native to Philippines and Indonesia. The other names of this tree include canaga tree, ilang-ilang, fragrant canaga, macassar-oil plant, etc. The literal meaning of 'ylang ylang' is 'flower of flowers', and it is popular for the essential oil extracted from its flowers. The flowers of ylang ylang tree are widely used in Indonesia and Philippines for decorative and cosmetic purposes. Before knowing more about the benefits and uses of ylang ylang essential oil, let us take a look at the extraction method of this essential oil.
Method of Extraction
As mentioned earlier, this essential oil is extracted from the fragrant flowers of Cananga odorata. These yellow-colored sweet-smelling flowers are distilled to get the essential oil. It is prepared by fractional distillation and hence this oil is available in various grades. Fractional distillation is nothing but collecting the oil in fractions and not continuously. Ylang ylang extra and ylang ylang 1, 2, and 3 are some of the grades of this oil. The quality of these grades is not fixed and may change with every manufacturer. But usually the oil grades are differentiated from each other based on the time taken for fractional distillation of each grade. For example, the length of distillation of ylang ylang extra can be one hour, while for ylang ylang 1 it can be 3 hours. The quality of the essential oil decreases with number of hours required for its distillation.
Linalool, geranyl acetate, caryophyllene, p-cresyl methyl ether, methyl benzoate, benzyl acetate, benzyl benzoate and sesquiterpenes are some of the main chemicals present in the essential oil. Ylang ylang extract is the purest and finest form of ylang ylang oil and it contains the maximum amount of esters. But this is not used for aromatherapy purposes and is mixed with ylang ylang 1 and 2. The resultant oil is called ylang ylang complete, and it its this variety that is usually available in stores.
Antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, antiseborrhoeic, aphrodisiac, hypotensive and nervine and are some of the main properties of ylang ylang essential oil. Ylang ylang is known for its euphoric qualities that help to relieve a number of health problems like anxiety, stress, insomnia, impotency, etc. Thus, this essential oil is mainly used for aromatherapy purposes and to uplift a sense of well-being. Using ylang ylang essential oil for hair helps promote hair growth. This oil is also used to reduce or alleviate anger, stubbornness and jealousy in a person. The use of this oil has also proved to reduce high blood pressure and nervous tension, and it has also proved to be beneficial for treating acne and other oily skin problems.
To enjoy ylang ylang essential oil benefits, you can add few drops of it to warm bathing water. If you have sensitive skin, make sure you mix ylang ylang oil with some carrier oil before using it for bathing. You can also inhale the aroma of ylang ylang aromatherapy oil by adding few drops of it to steaming water in a bowl. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the fragrance. Even a massage with a mixture of ylang ylang and a carrier oil can help in relaxing your mind and body.
This was a summary on ylang ylang essential oil properties and benefits. It is recommended that this essential oil not be used by pregnant and lactating women, since this may give rise to health problems. Some people can be sensitive to the sweet smell of this essential oil and can suffer from severe headaches and nausea.