Ylang Ylang Essential Oil | The Flower of Flowers

by Penny Price February 01, 2023 7 min read

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil | The Flower of Flowers

I do admit that Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is one of my all-time favourites! Although it can be overpowering and pungent when undiluted, pop it in a blend and it is absolutely fabulous – flowery and sweet. Ylang Ylang actually means ‘flower of flowers’, the princess of oils! Ylang ylang oil is as pretty in name as it is in nature, with its soothing, floral aroma and star-shaped flowers that can be found on the branches of the Cananga Odorata tree. The tree is native to parts of India, Malaysia, parts of Australia and the Philippines.

About Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

The Latin name for Ylang Ylang is Cananga odorata, and it is known by the synonyms Flower of flowers, and C. odorantissimum. Ylang Ylang is from the Anonaceae plant family, the largest order of the Magnolia genus. The essential oil is steam distilled from the flower heads, although it is not straightforward as we will see!

Originating from Madagascar, the Comores and the Philippines, Penny Price Aromatherapy source it from Madagascar.

This beautiful creamy-white flowering bush is grown in the exotic Middle Eastern and African countries. The Cananga tree is a fast-growing tree reaching up to 15-20 meters high in the wild. When cut, they reach only 3 meters in order to ease the harvest process. Around 5 kilos of flowers are harvested annually per tree. 1-1.5L of Essential Oil requires 100 kilos of flowers.

The aroma is particularly strong in the afternoon and early evening and is very delicate, although the flowers harvested for Ylang Ylang Essential Oil must be picked by hand at night. Due to the high concentration of aromatic compounds in the flower, picking them away from the sun helps to preserve their potent properties.

Obtaining Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Distillation takes up to 24 hours as the chemical make-up of the essential oil is very complex. Often parts of the oil are distilled and sold, so care needs to be taken to supply the whole essential oil, especially in aromatherapeutic uses. Although steam distilled, the process required to extract Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is just like pressing olives for oil in that the essential oil is collected at various stages of the process and graded. Through a method known as fractional distillation (the separation of volatile components of different boiling points in a mixture by the gradual increase of temperature and the separate collection of each component) each successive collection of oil produces varying grades containing a wide array of chemical constituents. This is quite unique in essential oil manufacturing, and means that Ylang Ylang Essential Oil can be sold in various grades: Extra, 1, 2, 3, Complete.

Extra Grade: Regarded by many perfumers as containing the finest notes from the distillation process, this is the first essential oil collection after an hour or two of steam distillation. Extra contains roughly 30 different chemical constituents, it is usually the most expensive.

Grade I – III: As the steam distillation process continues, essential oil collections are taken every few hours, which make up less potent (and expensive) oils in descending order: Grade I, then II and finally III.

Complete: Represents the whole distillate encompassing all the collections from the entire distillation process. This synergy oil offers maximum fragrance potency. This is the grade that is best used in aromatherapy so that the wholeness and the synergy of the oil are at maximum to benefit the user

This pale yellow oil has a sensuous, sweet, floral aroma, and it is often used in ‘love potions’ or sexy perfumes such as Chanel Number 5. Traditionally, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil was used by the Victorians to make macassar oil for the hair, and in Indonesia the flowers are spread on the beds of newly married couples to increase fertility.

Properties of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is antiseptic, antispasmodic, balancing, calming, hypotensive, and tonic to the reproductive system. It also helps hair growth and is a sedative. It is most often used to help children to control hyper-activity, but in adults it is more commonly used for helping insomnia, reducing frigidity, calming stress and for self-confidence.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil blends well with Lavender, Sandalwood, Lemon, Geranium, Orange and Bergamot Essential Oils.

In normal aromatherapy use, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil has no known contra-indications, although when used undiluted in some cosmetic preparations, allergies were reported. Because of this, its use is restricted quite severely in the formulation of skincare. However, it must be remembered that most skincare companies do not use pure essential oils, but their synthetic equivalent, or parts of the oil that smell god, such as the Extra distillation.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil has many chemicals, and of course the Complete oil has the most, but generally it is regarded to have around 20-30% of Sesquiterpenes, more than 30% alcohols, and at least 15% esters, with 15% phenyl methyl ethers. It is the latter that can cause skin irritation.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil has been used far and wide for a multitude of things for many years. For instance, in the Molucca Islands, it’s used to make a hair pomade. When it comes to perfumery, this oil is often the heart or the middle note and happens to be the main note in some of the most popular fragrances, such as the iconic Chanel No. 5. You’ll also find the less potent grade of it in colognes and cosmetic products, such as lotions and soap.

Ylang ylang oil is very versatile thanks to its antioxidant properties. As a result, there are lots of benefits to using it, including the below:

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil to Increase Libido

Maybe for Valentine’s Day this is one of the most important properties of the oil! It is well-known to help both men and women ‘feel in the mood’, being both relaxing and stimulating on the emotions. Because the oil has direct access to the olfactory system, effects can be almost immediate!

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil to Alleviate Stress

According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, inhaling Ylang Ylang Essential Oil helped increase feelings of calmness. The easiest way to achieve this effect is to use 4-8 drops in a vaporiser and inhale throughout the day. Alternatively, make up a rollerball with 9.5ml of coconut oil and 0.5ml of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, to use on the wrists and pulse points when needed.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil to Boost Self-esteem

My own research, along with many other studies, has found that Ylang Ylang Essential Oil can have a positive impact on mood levels when inhaled or applied to skin. In one case in my experience it was given in a blend with grapeseed oil to use before going for interview. The young women were all lacking in self-confidence, and most reported that it had helped them to overcome shyness.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil to Reduce Skin Dryness

Due to its ability to regulate oil production in the skin, helping prevent excess dryness and oiliness in the process. As a result, it can help with overall skin health when added to aromatherapy skincare products.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Helps to Prevent Ageing

The antioxidant properties means this oil can help fight off the free radicals that are responsible for premature ageing.

Whether you’re looking to rejuvenate your mind or body, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil will give you the boost you need. Some of our products contain Ylang Ylang so maybe they could make a great gift for someone you love.

Nurture Love

Nurture Love is a carefully chosen essential oil blend to help bring about a state of forgiveness and benevolence, thereby promoting cordial relationships. Nurture Love essential oil can also be used in the bedroom to reawaken sex life and to relax. The blend contains Ylang-Ylang, Ho Leaf, Jasmine and Lavandin Essential Oils to promote peace and unity within the spirit.

Dream Rollerball

Roll on sleep - For minds that can’t switch off after a long day, this blend of 100% natural, pure essential oils and a carrier oil, will help to relax you, giving you a blissful and refreshing night’s sleep. Dream is a blend of essential oils Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Sandalwood, Roman Chamomile, and Bergamot.

Let’s Make Recipes with Ylang Ylang Essential Oil!

You may like to try some of my recipes as below, and if you do, please do give us feedback on how they worked – we love hearing from you!

30 Drops = 1ml from a Penny Price Aromatherapy Essential Oil Bottle

❤️ Seduction massage oil

7 drops Bergamot Oil
5 drops Geranium Oil
3 drops of Neroli Oil
5 drops of Ylang Ylang Oil

Diluted in 100mlCoconut Fractionated Carrier Oil

❤️ Love massage oil

5 drops Ylang Ylang Oil
5 drops Patchouli Oil
5 drops Sandalwood Oil
5 drops Geranium Oil

Diluted in 100ml Coconut Fractionated Carrier Oil

🌙 Sleepy Bath Foam

98ml Bath Foam Base
15 drops Lavender True essential oil
15 drops Geranium essential oil
15 drops Ylang ylang essential oil
15 drops Bergamot essential oil

Mix the foam base with the essential oils in a mixing bowl, then using a funnel, transfer into a 100ml bottle with pump top. Use 2-5 pumps in each bath and soak for 20 minutes.

🌙 Sleepy Night Cream

99ml Moisture Cream Base
8 drops Lavender True essential oil
8 drops Geranium essential oil
7 drops Ylang ylang essential oil
7 drops Bergamot essential oil

Mix the cream base and essential oils in a bowl and transfer to a 100ml jar with lid when fully whipped. Use every evening after cleansing. Can also be used as a hand cream.

⭐ You can also put 2 drops of lavender on your pillow before bedtime, or use the vaporiser blend (again 2 drops is enough) to help you sleep.

✌️ Hand Lotion for cracked skin

17mls of White Lotion
3mls Avocado Carrier oil
2 drops of Patchouli Essential Oil
2 drops of Chamomile Roman Essential Oil
2 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Mix the lotion, carrier and then essential oils into a mixing bowl and stir well. Transfer the contents to a 20ml Jar and used when needed to help cracked skin.

😌 Vaporiser Blend For Anxiety

2 drops Ho Leaf essential oil
2 drops ylang ylang essential oil

Add as usual to your vaporiser unit and enjoy an unwinding and relaxing aroma to help reduce anxiety and stress.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog. We love to hear from you so do give us feedback on the blog and the recipes, and how they have worked for you or your clients. All the products mentioned are available from our website or you can phone your order through or get advice on 01455 251020. If you are interested in training with us, please call, or email Lizzie on courses@penny-price.com.

Penny Price
Penny Price

1 Response

Veronica Blasband
Veronica Blasband

February 06, 2023

Thank you again…Your sleepy night cream recipe sounds fabulous…will make it and let you know how it works!

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