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.