It's February and hearts and valentines come to mind. It just so happens that ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata var. genuina) essential oil has a special relationship with the heart.
Ylang-ylang essential oil has a sweet, sensual , strong floral aroma and is best used in small amounts. It is a base note that encourages relaxation, may promote feelings of euphoria, pleasure, joy, and sensual awakening. The Indonesians spread the flowers on the beds of newlyweds.
The oil is derived from a beautiful hanging flower and may be termed "extra" (first fraction of distillation), third fraction, or complete. The "extra" is said to have the best scent but the third fraction is also used in perfumery and the complete is as the name suggests.
The oil is strong and should be used in low dilutions both topically and aromatically. Tisserand recommends a maximum topical use of 0.8% to avoid skin sensitization. Too much aromatically can cause headache or nausea.
The oil is rich in relaxing sequiterpenes and esters and a study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found that inhaling ylang-ylang essential oil can significantly reduce both heart rate and blood pressure in healthy men. (1)
Thus ylang-ylang essential oil can be used sparingly to help reduce feelings of anxiety or stress and is useful for supporting sleep. It is also wonderful in skin care. Topical application has been shown to induce feelings of relaxation and calmness (2) and reduce psychological stress response (3)
Try combining ylang-ylang with lavender and bergamot in an aroma inhaler or diffuser to support sleep or relaxation or reduce feelings of stress. Add the oil to a lotion along with 2 or 3 other oils such as lavender, neroli, frankincense, cedarwood, sandalwood, vetiver, or patchoulli using about 8-12 drops per ounce. Apply to the heart area or back of the neck for calming and soothing.
Ylang-ylang is also said to have a harmonizing effect that produces calm with an increased sense of attentiveness and in traditional medicine it is regarded as a tonic. In addition to its benefits for the heart ylang-ylang essential oil contains aromatic compounds that are analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and emotionally uplifting.
If you have questions about ylang-ylang, essential oils, or aromatherapy contact Tricia. Or visit the appointment page to schedule your consultation or AromOx session.
Have you tried ylang-ylang essential oil? Share your experiences.
1. Jung, D., Jun-Yul, C., Sung-Eun, K., Il-Gyu, K., and Yong-Seok, J. (2013). Effects of Ylang-Ylang aroma on blood pressure and heart rate in healthy men.
2. Hongratanaworakit, T. and Buchbauer, G. (2006) Relaxing effect of ylang ylang on humans after transdermal absorption. Phytotherapy Research 20, 9, 758-763.
3. Hwang, J.H. (2006) The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension. Taehan Kanhoe Hakhoe Chi 36, 7, 1123-1134.