Have you ever heard of ylang-ylang? It’s the flower of Cananga odorata or the Cananga tree. You can find it in the Philippines, Indonesia, and other parts of tropical Asia.
Ylang ylang is known for its essential oil. It smells absolutely lovely, making it a popular choice in the perfume industry.1
This oil is more than just a pretty smell though. Using ylang-ylang essential oil will give you these seven awesome health benefits.
1. Relieves Anxiety
Feeling stressed? Take a whiff of ylang-ylang essential oil. Its major constituent, benzyl benzoate, does wonders for the brain. Specifically, it acts on serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s linked to emotion and mood.2 3
Because of these positive effects, ylang-ylang oil doubles as a natural remedy for depression.4
2. Decreases High Blood Pressure
The stress-busting benefits of ylang-ylang oil include lower blood pressure. Pulse rate will also improve, according to the journal Planta Medica. It might be just what you need after a long day.5
Remember, stress and blood pressure go hand in hand. Chronic stress can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure.6 Over time, this can lead to hypertension and a greater risk for heart disease.7 With ylang-ylang oil, you can control both factors naturally.
3. Increases Alertness
Ylang ylang oil is also used for increasing attentiveness. The odor has the power to boost alertness, making it helpful for focus and concentration. So, instead of drinking another cup of coffee, smell some ylang-ylang!
You might be wondering how an oil can increase alertness, but reduce blood pressure. Aren’t these things totally opposite?
Ylang ylang essential oil actually has a harmonizing effect.8 In turn, you’ll feel balanced and in tune with your body. It’s useful for those days when you’re feeling a little off.
4. Prevents Skin Cancer
On the skin, ylang-ylang essential oil has beneficial uses. One of its major constituents, germacrene, has strong anti-oxidative properties.9
This means it can ward off skin cancer. After all, oxidative stress is the primary trigger for cancer cell growth. It can also damage the skin’s DNA, making it easy for cancer development.10 Possible causes range from environmental toxins11 to ultraviolet irradiation.
Ylang ylang can save the day. It works against oxidation, giving your skin an extra dose of protection. Combine it with ginger, holy basil, and lemongrass oils for even stronger antioxidative benefits.12
5. Kills Bacteria
Ylang ylang oil is also an antimicrobial agent. It can help the skin by preventing – and treating – bacterial infections.13
For example, ylang-ylang oil is great for protecting a cut or scrape. By decreasing the risk of infection, you can help the wound heal properly.
If you’re dealing with acne, consider using ylang-ylang oil on the face. The antimicrobial properties can fight the bacteria that cause breakouts, such as Propionibacterium acnes.14
6. Reduces Inflammation
From arthritis to pelvic inflammatory disease, inflammation is the cause of countless conditions. However, ylang-ylang essential oil happens to be a natural anti-inflammatory remedy.
It’s all because of the major constituents like linalool and linalyl acetate. They work by inhibiting lipoxygenase, an enzyme that plays a role in the inflammatory response.
Ylang ylang also controls white blood cells called macrophages. Normally, these cells release nitric oxide as a natural defense. But when there’s too much, inflammation and tissue damage can crop up. Ylang ylang keeps this in check by regulating macrophage activity.15
7. Manages Diabetes
When consumed, ylang-ylang can even benefit diabetes. It’s been proven to hinder the pancreatic enzyme alpha-amylase. This effect manages postprandial hyperglycemia, promoting better diabetes control.
Ylang ylang also inhibits another enzyme called aldose reductase. Typically, this enzyme turns glucose into sorbitol, which is linked to diabetic complications. But thanks to ylang-ylang, these harmful effects will be less likely.16
How To Use Ylang Ylang Essential Oil?
Essential oils are highly concentrated. If you’d like to use ylang-ylang oil on the skin, always dilute it first. For every five drops, use one tablespoon of a carrier oil. Coconut, grapeseed, avocado and almond oils are excellent options.
It’s also a good idea to do a patch test first. If you have an adverse reaction, stop using ylang-ylang essential oil immediately.
Want to try aromatherapy? Use an essential oil burner or diffuser. Otherwise, taking a sniff from the bottle works well.
|↑1, ↑14, ↑15, ↑16||Tan, Loh Teng Hern, Learn Han Lee, Wai Fong Yin, Chim Kei Chan, Habsah Abdul Kadir, Kok Gan Chan, and Bey Hing Goh. “Traditional uses, phytochemistry, and bioactivities of Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang).” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).|
|↑2||Zhang, Nan, Lei Zhang, Linyin Feng, and Lei Yao. “The anxiolytic effect of essential oil of Cananga odorata exposure on mice and determination of its major active constituents.” Phytomedicine 23, no. 14 (2016): 1727-1734.|
|↑3||Young, Simon N. “How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs.” Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience 32, no. 6 (2007): 394.|
|↑4||Hongratanaworakit, Tapanee, and Gerhard Buchbauer. “Relaxing effect of ylang-ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption.” Phytotherapy Research 20, no. 9 (2006): 758-763.|
|↑5, ↑8||Hongratanaworakit, T., and G. Buchbauer. “Evaluation of the harmonizing effect of ylang-ylang oil on humans after inhalation.” Planta Medica 70, no. 07 (2004): 632-636.|
|↑6||Managing Stress to Control High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association.|
|↑7||Health Threats From High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association.|
|↑9||Wei, Alfreda, and Takayuki Shibamoto. “Antioxidant activities and volatile constituents of various essential oils.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 55, no. 5 (2007): 1737-1742.|
|↑10||Rinnerthaler, Mark, Johannes Bischof, Maria Karolin Streubel, Andrea Trost, and Klaus Richter. “Oxidative stress in aging human skin.” Biomolecules 5, no. 2 (2015): 545-589.|
|↑11||Narendhirakannan, R. T., and M. Angeline Christie Hannah. “Oxidative stress and skin cancer: an overview.” Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry 28, no. 2 (2013): 110-115.|
|↑12||Leelapornpisid, Pimporn, R. Randall Wickett, Sunee Chansakaow, and Nitima Wongwattananukul. “Potential of native Thai aromatic plant extracts in anti wrinkle body creams.” Journal of cosmetic science 66, no. 4 (2014): 219-231.|
|↑13||Tadtong, Sarin, Supatcha Suppawat, Anchalee Tintawee, Phanida Saramas, Suchada Jareonvong, and Tapanee Hongratanaworakit. “Antimicrobial activity of blended essential oil preparation.” Natural product communications 7, no. 10 (2012): 1401-1404.|