ylang ylang oil

Feb 21, 2024 10:15:00 AM | ylang ylang Learn the Amazing Health Benefits of of Ylang Ylang Oil

Discover ylang ylang oil! From promoting relaxation to supporting heart health and skin care, this versatile essential oil offers a range of benefits.

This article explores the diverse benefits of Ylang Ylang oil, highlighting its uses for stress relief, mood enhancement, heart health, skin and scalp care, and as a natural insect repellent. It emphasizes the oil's health-promoting properties, including its ability to lower blood pressure and support emotional well-being.

Ylang Ylang Cananga odoratais a unique essential oil that is not only a treat for your olfactory senses; it also comes packed with a range of health benefits. From promoting relaxation and stress relief to boosting mood and supporting skin health, this essential oil is like a multitasking wellness wizard.

This versatile oil is extracted via the steam distillation of fresh flowers from the ylang ylang tree C. odorata, a South Asian tree of the custard apple family (Annonaceae). The perfume it produces has a sweet, fruity, floral aroma that creates a serene atmosphere.3 

In the world of aromatherapy, ylang ylang is often used to relieve stress and support mental wellness. It can also be mixed with many other oils to create soaps, detergents, beverages, and skin care products. Here are five ways this multifaceted oil can be a great addition for self-care.

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Top 5 Surprising Applications of Ylang Ylang Oil

Stress Support

When you inhale the aroma of ylang ylang, it can have a direct impact on your limbic system, which plays a role in emotions and memories. This can trigger feelings of peace and help support stress and anxiety.4

Additionally, ylang ylang oil has been found to have a sedative effect, which can further contribute to its ability to promote relaxation. According to a 2013 study on the "Effects of Ylang-Ylang aroma on blood pressure and heart rate in healthy men" the essential oil may help reduce blood pressure and heart rate, creating a sense of tranquility.1

Try this ylang ylang spray recipe to reduce stress and hyperactive feelings such as anger, anxiety, or frustration. 


Recipe: Ylang Ylang and Spice Calming Spray11


  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang Oil Cananga odorata var. genuina
  • 6 drops Sweet Orange Oil Citrus sinensis
  • 1 drop Cinnamon Oil Cinnamomum zeylanicum
  • 1 drop Lemon Oil Citrus limonum

Instructions: Add the specified essential oils into a glass bottle. Blend with 2 teaspoons of alcohol for a room spray or 12 teaspoons of distilled water (or witch hazel hydrosol) for a body spray.


Mental Health Support

Ylang ylang oil is a mood booster that may help when experiencing feelings of depression. Its pleasant and uplifting aroma can stimulate the release of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is often referred to as the "happy hormone".6

Serotonin plays a crucial role in regulating mood, and low levels are often associated with feelings of depression. By promoting the release of serotonin, ylang ylang oil may help induce a more positive emotional state.5

It's important to note that while ylang ylang oil can be a supportive element in managing mood, it's not a substitute for professional treatment of depression. It’s essential to seek the guidance of a healthcare professional for a comprehensive and personalized approach to mental health.


Heart Health

Ylang ylang oil has been shown to contribute to heart health in a few ways. Firstly, its ability to support stress and anxiety can indirectly benefit the heart. Chronic stress is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, and by promoting relaxation, ylang ylang oil may help lower stress levels and, in turn, support heart health.4

Secondly, ylang ylang oil has been found to have potential benefits for blood pressure. A 2013 study of 29 healthy men showed that inhaling ylang ylang aroma significantly reduced heart rate and decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure.1


Skin and Scalp Health

Skincare enthusiasts adore Ylang Ylang for its potential to balance oil production and promote healthy skin and hair. A 2017 study in Biochimie Open measured the effects of ylang ylang oil on skin cell immune responses and inflammation. The results suggested that the oil has both anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties.2 Some oils with anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe irritation, making them suitable for sensitive skin.7

Ylang ylang oil can also contribute to hair health and appearance. According to the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, when applied topically to the scalp, it can affect the skin’s cellular function by providing antibacterial, antifungal, anti inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. This, in turn, can promote an increase in the hair shaft density, clean the hair bulb, and strengthen the entire bulb/stem system.8 You can add a few drops of ylang ylang oil to your regular skin care or hair care products, or create your own DIY masks and blends.



Ylang ylang growing wild at the Corcovado Tent Camp near the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. © 2020 Tracey Abell.


Amanda Lattin, ACHS Dean of Aromatherapy, shares this ylang ylang recipe as a great addition to add moisture and radiance to your skin and hair:


Recipe: Calming and Sensual Hair and Body Oil


  • 5 drops Ylang Ylang Oil Cananga odorata var. genuina 
  • 1 ounce Argan Oil Argania spinosa
  • 1 ounce Camellia Oil Camellia oleifera
  • 10 drops Sandalwood Oil Santalum album 
  • 10 drops Sweet Orange Oil Citrus sinensis 
  • 5 drops Juniper Berry Oil  Juniperus communis

Instructions: Combine the argan oil, camellia oil, and essential oils in a 2 oz glass bottle with a dropper top. Label and date the bottle. Massage 5-10 drops of the oil onto a clean scalp at night before bed. Or use 5 ml (1 tsp) of the oil for localized application (eg. the chest and neck) as a body oil. Alternatively, mix 5 ml (1tsp) of the oil into body lotion for a full body application. If irritation occurs, wash off with soap and water and discontinue use.


Insect Deterrent

While the extract from the ylang ylang flower is an aromatic treat for humans, it's conversely a natural insect repellent. Its strong fragrance can mask the scents that attract insects, making it less likely for them to be attracted to you or your surroundings.9

A study in the Philippine Journal of Science showed that cotton fabric treated with ylang ylang oil had a greater rate of mosquito repellency than untreated fabric.10 Ylang Ylang can make a great natural alternative to some chemical-laden insect repellents.

The next time you're in need of a spa day, a mood boost, or a natural mosquito deterrent, consider incorporating Ylang Ylang into your repertoire. Whether it's inhaled, applied topically, or added to your favorite skincare products, this practical essential oil might just be the aromatic you need for your well-being.


MS in Aromatherapy



1 Jung, D.-J., Cha, J.-Y., Kim, S.-E., Ko, I.-G., & Jee, Y.-S. (2013). Effects of Ylang-Ylang aroma on blood pressure and heart rate in healthy men. National Library of Medicine, 9(2), 250-255. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836517/

2 Han, X., Beaumont, C., & Stevens, N. (2017). Chemical composition analysis and in vitro biological activities of ten essential oils in human skin cells. Biochimie Open, 5(1), 1-7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214008517300123

3 Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2023, June 23). ylang-ylang. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/plant/ylang-ylang 

4 Fung, T. K.H., Lau, B. W.M., Ngai, S. P.C., & TsangTherapeutic Effect and Mechanisms of Essential Oils in Mood Disorders: Interaction between the Nervous and Respiratory Systems, H. W.H. (2021). Therapeutic Effect and Mechanisms of Essential Oils in Mood Disorders: Interaction between the Nervous and Respiratory Systems. National Library of Medicine, 22(9), 4844. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8125361/

5 Hongratanaworakit, T., & Buchbauer, G. (2006). Relaxing effect of ylang ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption. National Library of Medicine, 20(9), 758-63. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16807875/

6 Professional, Cleveland Clinic medical. “Serotonin: What Is It, Function & Levels.” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, 2023, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22572-serotonin.

7 de Freitas Junior, R. A., Lossavaro, P. K. d. M. B., Kassuya, C. A. L., Paredes-Gamero, E. J., Farias Junior, N. C., Souza, M. I. L., Silva-Comar, F. M. d. S., Cuman, R. K. N., Silva, D. B., Toffoli-Kadri, M. C., & Silva-Filho, S. E. (2022). Effect of Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata Hook. F. & Thomson) Essential Oil on Acute Inflammatory Response In Vitro and In Vivo. National Library of Medicine, 27(12), 3666. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9231162/ 

8 Abelan, U. S., Andressa Costade Oliveira, Cacoci, E. S. P., Martins, T. E. A., Giacon, V. M., Velasco, M. V. R., & Lima, C. R. R. d. C. (2022). Potential use of essential oils in cosmetic and dermatological hair products: A review. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 21(4), 1407-1418. https://repositorio.usp.br/directbitstream/46e0b9d4-8bcc-43f6-81cb-8a7957b061e9/jocd.14286.pdf 

9 Soonwera, M., & Phasomkusolsil, S. (2015). Efficacy of Thai herbal essential oils as green repellent against mosquito vectors. Acta Tropica, 142(1), 1-178. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0001706X14003799 

10 Reyes, E. L. B., Menor, M. D., Munsayac, M. G., Notario, J. B. P., Ogaco, G. H. A., Perez, J. P. A., Ramos, E. K. S., Tengco, S. G. C., Rio, P. C., & Hilario, A. L. (2020). Mosquito Repellent Property of “Ylang-Ylang” (Cananga odorata) Essential Oil in Urea-Formaldehyde Microencapsulated Cotton Fabric. Philippine Journal of Science, 149(4), 1029-1037. https://philjournalsci.dost.gov.ph/images/pdf/pjs_pdf/vol149no3b/mosquito_repellent_property_of_ylang_ylang_.pdf

11 American College of Healthcare Sciences (2017, December 7). 3 Irresistible Recipes for Holiday Aromatherapy Sprays American College of Healthcare Sciences https://info.achs.edu/blog/natural-holiday-perfumes-sprays-essential-oils. 


American College of Healthcare Sciences

Written By: American College of Healthcare Sciences

ACHS's mission is to lead the advancement of evidence-based, integrative health and wellness education through experiential online learning and sustainable practices. This includes sharing helpful, informative, holistic healthcare articles on the ACHS Health and Wellness Blog.