History of Ylang-Ylang
The ylang-ylang essential oil comes from the beautiful, long, and almost banana-like flowering petals of the ylang-ylang tree.
Named the “flower of flowers”, this tropical plant has an incredibly sweet and floral scent that is recognizable from some distance, even in the middle of a crowded tropical jungle or a crowded urban garden!
A critical ingredient in the legendary perfume formulation that makes Chanel No. 5, this essential oil has been used for bath, skin, and body purposes for hundreds of years. 1
Utilization of the ylang-ylang essential oil stretches back centuries to Indonesia when our earliest ancestors there were using the oils of this plant to thicken and add more body to their hair. 2
Imagine that! This essential oil was one of the first “hairstyling” products hundreds of years ago!
Today, we understand and appreciate the many benefits of ylang-ylang essential oil that our ancestors were yet to discover on their own. It’s one of the most popular essential oils available, and once you finish the rest of this quick guide you will understand exactly why that is!
This Flower of Flowers Can Change Your Life Forever
Found commonly in the tropical rainforests of Asia and the South Pacific, particularly in Indonesia, the Philippines, on Sumatra, Java, and Polynesia, the ylang-ylang flower comes from the ylang-ylang tree—and that’s the foundation of this essential oil.
With a number of different types and grades of this essential oil available on the market right now, it’s important to find the right solution with the right properties, the right potency, and the right level of “first extraction.”
Ylang-ylang Extra Oil is considered by most to be the very best quality essential oil you can get your hands on. It’s produced ONLY from the very first extraction, which inevitably results in Extra Oil containing the highest level of the esters and the sweetest, most tropical scent possible.
Hundreds of years ago, indigenous people living in the Philippines brought these plants to the village healers to create an oil and an ointment that was to be used to treat cuts, burns, bites, and abrasions. In other South Pacific islands, the people there used this oil as the main ingredient in “Makassar Oil”, a promenade that became incredibly popular in England during the Victorian era. 3
The people of Indonesia not only appreciate the ylang-ylang flowers for the essential oil that they make possible, but they also consider it to be one of life’s most potent aphrodisiacs. Thus it is a big part of newlywed celebrations.
Around the beginning of the 20th century, French chemists began to experiment with the essential oils that could be obtained by the first pressings of the ylang-ylang flowers. While we do not advise using it for any of the following, rather quickly they discovered it was a tremendously effective solution for treating diseases that include:
- And Intestinal/Bacterial Infections
Our ancient ancestors also utilized the ylang-ylang plant and its oils (both Eastern and Western medicine) for the relaxing and restorative benefits that it brought to the table. It’s incredibly effective at reducing stress, washing away anxiety, and eliminating feelings of anger.
Chemical Composition of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
As we mentioned above, the very best ylang-ylang essential oil is going to be produced by the first pressing of the flowers themselves. However, quality essential oils can also be produced by the second pressing as well. After that, things start to deteriorate as the active ingredient levels aren’t anywhere near as high as they are in the first two pressings.
Ylang-ylang oil has a unique chemical composition. It includes a number of different bioavailable chemical compounds and substances that are going to positively react with your body’s own biochemistry. 4
The composition of these chemical constituents is easily absorbed into the skin, giving you the ability to enjoy almost instantaneous results when you are applying this essential oil to your hair or skin.
Some of the terpenes contained within Ylang-Ylang essential oil are:
- Benzyl Acetate
- Methyl Chavicol
… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Common Uses of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
There are a tremendous number of significant benefits you will enjoy when you take advantage of everything that ylang-ylang essential oil has to offer.
Not only is this essential oil proven to protect against infection (both topical infections and internal infections), but it can also help to act as an effective:
- An antiseptic solution that can be used to increase the rate of healing of wounds and infections while also working to prevent sepsis and tetanus.
- Sedative with properties that can almost immediately soothe tension, relax the body and mind, and bring a tremendous sense of calm to nearly any situation.
As far as how ylang-ylang delivers these results, there are a number of different delivery mechanisms that can be used with this essential oil that include putting drops of it into a diffuser or combining this essential oil with mild carrier oils and massaging it into the skin or hair.
All of these methods work incredibly effectively and depending upon the specific kinds of results you are looking for, and your preferred method of enjoyment, you may wish to utilize many of them.
Some of the other major benefits you will enjoy when you regularly use ylang-ylang essential oil are highlighted below.
Calms Down Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the most destructive processes in the human body, and it doesn’t take much inflammation to wreak absolute havoc on our overall health and well-being.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including over-the-counter solutions like aspirin, for example) have proven to be incredibly effective at controlling inflammation, but have significant side effects that can be just as disastrous to your short or long-term health.
Ylang-ylang essential oils are effective anti-inflammatory agents. Aromatic use of this essential oil (adding a few drops directly beneath your nostrils can fast-track the bioavailability of the anti-inflammatory agents in this essential oil.
Decreases and Regulates Your Blood Pressure and Your H eart Rate
According to information published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, aromatic use of ylang-ylang essential oils for 20 minutes was enough to dramatically reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. On top of that, EKG readings showed that the clinical test subjects that used this essential oil exhibited a slower heart rate the following day. 7
Ylang-ylang essential oil works best when blended with other blood pressure control essential oils like lavender and lemon. Again, you’ll want to use it aromatically for best results. If using it in a room diffuser, you should air for at least 20 minutes of solid exposure to see significant benefits.
A Mild and All-Natural Sedative
Ylang-ylang works as a mild and all-natural sedative without the risks that chemical concoctions cooked up in a laboratory commonly expose you to.
A study in 2006 discovered that massaging a 20% solution of ylang-ylang oil and sweet almond massage oil over the abdomen for just five minutes dramatically reduced blood pressure, increased the regulation of skin temperature, and worked to sedate those that have been exposed to these chemical compounds.
The research backs up the contention that ylang-ylang is a powerful sedative without the side effects that man-made and prescription drugs designed to do the same thing commonly involve. 8
Some of the terpenoid derivatives and flavonoids that are found in the ylang-ylang plant reduce the impact of aldose reductase, an enzyme in the human body responsible for transforming glucose into sorbitol.
Too much intercellular sorbitol can lead to significant complications in those that are living with both Types I and Type II diabetes. Complications like cataracts, diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy, and nephropathy can all be caused by too much sorbitol – something that ylang-ylang essential oils seek out and destroy in the human body.
Surface Treatment To Fight Back Against Biofilm
Ylang-ylang essential oils do not just have to be applied topically to your skin to see incredible health benefits, either.
When combined with other herbal ingredients like oregano, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, cinnamon oil, and lemongrass, ylang-ylang essential oil has been known to fight back against “biofilm”.
Biofilm is a slimy surface film of bacteria that can adhere and stick to almost any surface imaginable, carrying many infectious diseases. It dramatically increases the risk of bacterial infection. When left unchecked, it can become a significant health risk for you, your loved ones and your pets.
Ylang-ylang was found to be capable of destroying 80% of biofilm produced by a variety of different strains of bacteria. It can be used as a topical cleaning agent without risk of staining or degrading most of the materials to which it is applied.
Safety and Precautions
As far as safety and health precautions are concerned, you really do not have a whole lot to worry about when you use this all-natural solution.
It takes a tremendously high amount of ylang-ylang essential oil to cause any meaningful negative reaction, even for those that have considerably more sensitive skin than most.
In excessive amounts, however (especially if you’re working with a first pressing of the ylang-ylang essential oil), you may end up having to contend with some – or all – of the side effects highlighted below.
- Skin sensitivity and irritation
- Dizziness and nausea
- Headaches and mental fogginess
Like most other essential oil options on the market today, if you’re planning on using an oil topically, it’s always a good idea to test the ylang-ylang oils on your skin in a small patch as a “sensitivity test” before you move forward all over your body. 9
Dilute the ylang-ylang oil in “carrier oils” into a skin patch test and you’ll be able to avoid a lot of headaches and a lot of hassle that may have befallen you otherwise. And, of course, topical application is not the only use of ylang-ylang.
All in all, however, the instances of negative side effects from using ylang-ylang (especially when used appropriately) aren’t all that common whatsoever.
There are a lot of essential oils out there from which to pick and choose, but it’s always a good idea to move forward with the “tried and true” options like ylang-ylang that have literally centuries and centuries of a track record to vouch for their effectiveness.
Ylang-ylang may come from one of the most beautiful tropical plants on the planet, but it is so much more than just another pretty face. The essential oil compounds in this flower are capable of tremendous health and wellness benefits, most of which can begin to improve your life almost immediately.
No, you aren’t going to want to ingest ylang-ylang essential oils internally. But you can use it in a room diffuser, or take advantage of it as a topical oil or part of a massage cream or lotion. The bioavailable chemicals in this all-natural solution will begin to go to work improving your life right away, thanks to its rapid absorption rate.
The only people who should probably shy of the way from utilizing ylang-ylang essential oils are those same people that should shy away from using ANY essential oils. Women that are pregnant or nursing should not take advantage of ylang-ylang oil, and children under the age of six should probably not be utilizing this kind of solution, either.
Aside from that, however, the risk factors for making the most of this all-natural product are slim and yet the benefits are significant. You’ll be glad you made using this essential oil a big part of your daily routine almost right out of the gate!