Essential Oil Spotlight: Ylang Ylang

The name “ylang ylang” is derived from the Tagalog words “ilang,” meaning “wilderness,” and “ilang-ilan,” meaning “rare.” The Cananga odorata (ylang ylang) tree is a fast-growing tree that mainly thrives in a rainforest-type environment. The ylang ylang tree is said to grow about 15 ft per year, reaching an average height of about 40 ft. tall (Wikipedia).


Ylang ylang essential oil is distilled from the flowers of the ylang ylang tree. There are several different processes by which ylang ylang can be distilled, but to achieve a pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil (rather than a perfume grade), the flowers need to be distilled in a single, uninterrupted process so that all of their aromatic compounds can be collected. Ylang ylang distilled by this process is known as “ylang ylang complete” (

Ylang ylang essential oil is said to influence sexual energy, enhance relationships, stimulate the adrenal glands, help calm and relax, and help alleviate anger. Therapeutically, it has been used to help with arrhythmia, calming, colic, diabetes, exhaustion, hair loss, fear, high blood pressure, hormonal balance, low libido, stress, tachycardia, and tension (Modern Essentials).

Historically, ylang ylang was used to cover the beds of newlywed couples on their wedding nights, to soothe insect bites, to promote thick, shiny hair, and to alleviate constipation, indigestion, stomachaches, and colic (Modern Essentials).


Modern Essentials, Fifth Edition, p.84

1 thought on “Essential Oil Spotlight: Ylang Ylang

  1. Ylang-ylang is wonderful for those of us in our late 40’s! I use it to help my hormones and all the issues that come along with the change! I have also made a wonderful perfume with it.

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