Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang-Ylang Flowers

Source: The flowers of the Ylang-Ylang Tree (Cananga odorata).

Type of Treatment: Naturopathic Medicine: Essential Oil.

How it Works: Ylang-Ylang essential oil is primarily used in aromatherapy applications.  It is also sometimes blended with other essential oils for topical applications.


Ylang-Ylang essential oil is distilled from the flowers of a tropical tree (Cananga odorata) that is native to South-East Asia.  Well known for its potent floral scent, ylang-ylang oil is used in a variety of applications, particularly aromatherapy and perfumery.

In traditional herbal medicine, ylang-ylang oil was used extensively in topical treatments for skin and hair problems.  The oil was also to have calming and anti-pyretic (anti-fever) properties.  It has been widely claimed that ylang-ylang oil has a positive effect on skin tone and can improve oily skin.

The Ylang-Ylang tree is a rapidly growing tree in the Annonaceae family and can reach heights of over 30 feet (10 m).  The flowers of the Ylang-Ylang Tree are large and abundant.  A mature tree can produce over 200 pounds of flowers per flowering, which yields around 10 oz of ylang-ylang essential oil.  The Ylang-Ylang Tree is now widely cultivated in regions around the world with moist, tropical climates.

The Ylang-Ylang Tree may also be known as: Alang-Ilang, Cananga Tree, Canangium odratum, Flower of Flowers, Fragrant Cananga, Ilang-Ilang, Kenanga, Macassar-oil Plant, Perfume Tree and Unona odorantissimum.

Composition of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

Chemical Composition of Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang-Ylang essential oil is a light yellow liquid that is oily and highly pungent.

There are actually several grades of Ylang-Ylang essential oil, which are generated from sequential extractions (essential oil can be extracted from the Ylang-Ylang flowers up to 4 times).  The most sought after is the top grade, which is produced by the first distillation.  A lot of commercially available Ylang-Ylang oil is actually blend of the top 2 or 3 grades.

The primary component of Ylang-Ylang essential oil is linalool, which is also abundant in the essential oils of lavender, coriander and basil.  Ylang-ylang essential oil is also rich in caryophyllene, Germacrene D, p-methylanisole, geranyl acetate and benzyl benzoate.

There is substantial deviation in the exact composition of Ylang-Ylang essential oil depending on the source and the grade.  Ylang-Ylang oil tends to be one of the more complex essential oils, with over 100 different compounds present in meaningful amounts.

Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil in Acne Treatment

Freshly Harvested Ylang-Ylang Flowers

Ylang-Ylang essential oil is commonly blended with other essential oils for topical use in the treatment of Acne vulgaris.  Ylang-Ylang oil may have some antibacterial properties, and some of its primary components are known to be toxic to Propionibacterium acnes bacteria (eg. linalool and Germacrene D).

Ylang-ylang has also been claimed to regulate sebum production, although this claim has not been fully substantiated.

Related Articles

An Overview of Naturopathic Medicine in Acne Treatment
An Overview of Essential Oils used in Acne Treatment
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Additional Information

Clove @ Wikipedia
Linalool @ Wikipedia


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