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February 16, 2020 4 min read

Learning to love Ylang – Ylang has been a journey. I’ve always avoided it due to concerns about blood pressure but a recent worry that lead to an “aha” moment. This “aha” moment lead me to use it in a blend that is gentle, soothing, and hinted with clarity and self-love. (If you're planning on attending Ladies Healing Day this year, you'll get a sample of it!)

Botany

Ylang – Ylang is the common name of a beautiful flower that is so delicate, even the wind can cause it to fall or become damaged. Its botanical name is Cananga odorata. Only the fully mature flowers are harvested by hand during the early hours of the morning. It’s critical that no flower is damaged during harvest to ensure the compete aromatics are intact (Rose, 1999).

Once the flowers are collected, they’re immediately taken for distillation. The delicate flowers are then steam distilled to obtain the floral, honeyed aroma that is reminiscent of a full moon’s magic on breezy Summer night - a treasure fit for a goddess. This is the aromatic goodness that the Ylang – Ylang complete essential oil can offer you.

It’s important to know that “the flowers of Cananga odorata forma macrophylla produce the oil called Cananga and Cananga odorata forma genuina produce the oil called Ylang – Ylang (Rose, 1999). While they both bear the same botanical name, they are unique and different. As a user, always ask your supplier to identify the forma on this oil so you can make sure you are getting the correct oil.

Aromatic profile

Ylang – Ylang complete essential oil has a very balanced, sweet, and floral aroma. It is soft, elegant, exotic and works wonderfully as a middle to base note in blends. However, too much can overpower you.

There are five different types of Ylang - Ylang essential oil. They are 'extra,' 'first,' 'second,' 'third, ‘and 'complete.' The first four are known as fractional distillates that are named according to when they are collected during the distillation process and can have very sharp penetrating aromas (Rose, 1999).

The sharp aromas can range from a sickly-sweet aroma to a very heavy and sedative honeyed aroma depending on the fractional distillate.

The 'complete' is a combination of all four distillates and has a more round and pleasant aroma. I tend to utilize this essential oil more than the separate distillates because it easier to blend with due to its aromatic profile.

Learning to Love Ylang-ylang

Emotional/Energetic Qualities

Between its use in skincare as a means to support the balanced production of sebum, this oil is can be used in blends for emotional support and energetics.

Wormwood states in her initial description that the “Ylang – Ylang personality is intensely feminine (Wormwood, 1996).” Close your eyes and imagine it as a goddess that’s powerful, empowering, supportive, and clear in her role as a nurturer and balancer of energies. 

I’ve personally used this for a few valentine blends to create a sultry yet relaxed mood. Emotionally it encourages feelings of pleasure and promotes sensual awakening. Did you know the flowers are used in the beds of newly weds in Indonesia for this reason (Mojay, 1997)?

Ylang – Ylang is relaxing and soothing as mentioned before so it can help tame the tension which can be supportive for those with hypertension. It can be especially helpful to the nervous system for this reason (Purchon and Cantele, 2014).

This oil is also beneficial when working through feelings of anger. With its intense energetics, it can cool your emotions and soften even the harshest feelings (Zeck, 2018). It blends well with geranium for this reason (and others) as they are both considered cool and moist energetically. 

It’s a potent energetic that is beautiful in how it can match even the most volatile of emotions yet be as delicate and balancing and the subtle rock of the cool ocean waves. This is why many use so little energetically. It doesn’t take much for Ylang – Ylang to get the job done.

Blending

Blending can be as complex or as simple as you would like. You can try to create a blend using Ylang – Ylang and one other oil or several other oils. It may be helpful to consider your blend’s purpose energetically, chemically, and aromatically before starting. If you start with more of the other oils you seek to use and then add a single drop until you get your desired effect, it may help as well.

  • Basil, 
  • Bergamot, 
  • Black Pepper,
  • Cedarwood,
  • Cinnamon,
  • Clary Sage,
  • Clove bud,
  • Eucalyptus (Lemon),
  • Frankincense,
  • Geranium,
  • Ginger,
  • Grapefruit,
  • Helichrysum,
  • Lavender,
  • Lemon,
  • Lime,
  • Mandarin (Red),
  • Orange (Sweet),
  • Palmarosa,
  • Patchouli,
  • Petitgrain bigarade,
  • Petitgrain (Mandarin),
  • Rose,
  • Sandalwood,
  • Vetiver

Usage ideas

Create your own relaxing and heart soothing stock blend with this recipe:

  • 2 parts Clary Sage
  • 1 part Bergamot
  • 1 part Ylang – Ylang complete

Add to your favorite massage emollient for a deeply soothing effect on muscles.

  • 1 ounce unscented massage oil
  • 2-4 drops of Ylang-Ylang

Safety Data

This is essential oil is considered non-toxic but can cause skin irritation or be sensitizing. Use in low dilution when applying to the skin. Because of its aromatic chemistry, it can cause headaches and nausea if the dose is too high. For this reason, I encourage users to use it in blends with the lowest percentage possible.

For example, if you are using four different oils, I would suggest starting with 1% or less of Ylang – Ylang complete before using a higher amount in your blend.

  • This essential oil has the potential to lower blood pressure. Use with caution if you have low blood pressure.
  • There is moderate risk for skin sensitizations. The recommended maximum topical use is 0.8% (Tisserand and Young, 2014).
  • Topical cautions for individuals include those with hypersensitive, diseased, or damaged skin.
  • Caution should also be exercised when using this essential oil topically on children under 2.
  • Do not place on broken skin.

References

Mojay, G. (1997). Aromatherapy: for healing the spirit. London: Gaia Books Ltd.

Purchon, N., & Cantele, L. (2014). The complete aromatherapy & essential oils handbook for everyday wellness. Toronto, Ontario: Robert Rose Inc.

Rose, J. (1999). 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley: Frog Books.

Tisserand, R., & Young, R. (2014). Essential oil safety (2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone.

Worwood, V. A. (1996). The fragrant mind: aromatherapy for personality, mind, mood and emotion. London: Bantam.

Zeck, R. (2004). The blossoming heart: aromatherapy for healing and transformation. East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours.