The translation of ylang ylang is "flower of flowers," and the oil is distilled from the flowers of the ylang ylang tree, found in tropical rain forests. This essential oil not only smells great and makes a good perfume scent base, but it also has a host benefits for body, mind, and spirit.
It Calms Stress
Ever feel like you just need to settle down a little? Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) essential oil has a proven sedative effect. The effect comes from sniffing the scent, and it affects areas associated with anxiety including pulse rate, blood pressure, respiration and other physiological responses to distressing stimuli. For example, the scent has been shown to increase alpha brain waves, which are your alert, relaxed brain waves. In one study of 40 adults, ylang ylang oil administered on the skin via a carrier oil increased feelings of calm on a self-reported index compared to people in the control group. Another group reported significant calming from sniffing ylang ylang essential oil. So if you are feeling particularly stressed out, or if you suffer from anxiety, diffusing some ylang ylang essential oil or putting a few drops of it into your bath may help calm those frayed nerves.
It May Help You Sleep
Due to its effects on physiological factors like respiration and heart rate, along with its calming and sedative effects, ylang ylang essential oil may also help you drift off to sleep. Try making a ylang ylang essential oil pillow spray with one cup of distilled water, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol or vodka, and six drops of ylang ylang essential oil. Spritz it on your pillow when you're ready to drift off to dreamland.
It Boosts Mood
Feeling down? Many essential oils, including ylang ylang, have been shown to elevate mood when inhaled. In ylang ylang's case, this effect is likely due to the boost in alpha waves. Therefore, if you're feeling grumpy, it might be worth a try.
It's an Aphrodisiac
Ylang ylang essential oil has an exotic fragrance that just may get your libido humming. In fact, ylang ylang essential oil has a reputation as being one of the most powerful essential oil aphrodisiacs available. A drop on a light bulb near your bed (if you keep the lights on), or a spritz of pillow spray may make your intimate moments more frequent.
It Lowers Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, the scent of ylang ylang essential oil could help. Multiple studies about ylang ylang's effects on blood pressure have shown that inhaling this essential oil produces significant decreases in daytime blood pressure in hypertensive people. Talk to your primary health care provider about the potential of this essential oil as part of a blood pressure control program.
It Inhibits Bacterial Growth
Multiple essential oils, including ylang ylang, have been studied and touted for their ability to inhibit bacterial growth. With this ability, you can use ylang ylang essential oil in natural antibacterial personal and home care products. For example, add a few drops to vinegar and water as a household kitchen and bathroom cleaner, or add a drop to two teaspoons of lotion as a soothing natural hand sanitizer.
It Repels Bugs
Ylang ylang has long been used in the treatment of malaria. However, in countries where malaria isn't an issue, it still has mosquito-related uses; it repels them. Using ylang ylang is a safe, natural alternative to other insect repellents, such as DEET. One study showed it repelled up to 98 percent of mosquitoes for up to an hour. To make mosquito repellent, add two drops of ylang ylang essential oil to one tablespoon of a carrier oil like sweet almond oil and rub into exposed skin.
It May Boost Self-Esteem
One of the more interesting studies performed on ylang ylang essential oil was its effects on self-esteem. Though small in scope (there were 34 participants), a randomized, placebo-controlled study showed those in the ylang ylang group experienced boosts in self-esteem (based on a self-evaluation questionnaire) 30, 60, and 90-days post study. The method of administration in the study was via skin, so if you're looking for boosted self-esteem, try adding a drop or two of ylang ylang essential oil to one tablespoon of lotion and using it each morning. You can also add it to coconut oil as a post-bath moisturizer you rub on warm, damp skin.
Ylang ylang essential oil is a natural, safe remedy. Direct application of ylang ylang without a carrier oil may cause sensitization reactions, so it is important to dilute it in a carrier oil at about five drops per ounce. It is safe to use in adults and children over the age of two.
A Healthier You
Ylang ylang essential oil offers numerous benefits. With its heady scent and affordable price, it's an excellent tool to add to your natural health arsenal.