Aromatherapy: Healing with Ylang Ylang

The intensely sweet floral aroma of ylang ylang is regarded as a symbol of love in the Orient, and its name originates from a Malayan work meaning 'flower of flowers'. Its petals are hand collected in the early morning Sun from high in this tropical tree an are then steam distilled to make an exquisite flower oil.

Soothing and Intoxicating

Ylang ylang is soothing and uplifting to the mind and emotions. It drives away anxiety and creates a sense of relaxed wellbeing as well as dissipating anger, frustration and jealousy. Ylang ylang blends well with citrus oils and other sensual oils, particularly neroli and sandalwood. It unlocks emotions, relaxes inhibitions and is a powerful aphrodisiac. Ylang ylang has a soothing effect on the skin and is a good facial oil, especially for combination skins.

Active Ingredients of Ylang Ylang Oil

The ylang ylang tree is native to both Indonesia and the Philippines, where it was first recognised to have medicinal qualities and its oil used to treat malaria and fight infections. To make ylang ylang oil, the flower petals are steam distilled several times, and the first run of the distillation process gives the highest quality 'extra grade' essential oil, which contains much more ester than oils from later runs an has more healing power.


Ylang ylang oil is rich in sweet smelling esters, especially benzyl acetate, methyl benzoate and geranyl acetate. These esters are the reason for ylang ylang oil's gently calming and sedative actions.


Lower grade oils contain much higher concentrations of sequisterpenes and as a result lack the sedative properties of the higher quality oils.

Using Ylang Ylang Oil

Ylang ylang is a versatile oil that can effectively alleviate anxiety and balance emotions as well as treat skin and hair conditions.

Emotional Harmoniser

Calm and balance the emotions with ylang ylang. Strenthen self-esteem and boost confidence with an upper chest, neck and back massage with an oil blend containing 4 drops of ylang ylang oil, 2 drops of allspice oil and 3 drops of vanilla oil blended in 10ml of grapeseed oil.

Create an aura of calm and regulate breathing during yoga or pilates by adding 2 drops of ylang ylang oil and 6 drops of grapefruit oil to a vaporiser.
Soothe feelings of frustration and anger with a relaxing aromatic bath containing 2 drops each of ylang ylang and rose oil and 4 drops of lavender oil

aromatherapy bathing

Stress Buster

Feel tension and anxiety slip away with ylang ylang oil.

Ease anxiety

For a massage blend:

30ml grapeseed oil
2 drops patchouli oil
2 drops ylang ylang oil
5 drops sweet orange

Ylang ylang and orange complement patchouli's grounding actions.

Quell panic attacks

Blend together:

2 drops ylang ylang oil
4 drops lavender oil

Inhale the mixture from a handkerchief. Both oils act to slow rapid breathing and to calm palpitations.

Fragrant Beauty

Ylang ylang has a balancing action on the secretion of sebum and therefore a soothing effect on the skin.

Tone oily skin with a facial massage. Use 3 drops each of frankincense, ylang ylang and sandalwood with 30ml jojoba oil.

Condition damaged hair by blending 3 drops of ylang ylang oil and 4 drops of lemon oil with 10ml of pure coconut oil.

Steam inhalation

Refresh skin with a facial steam. Add 2 drops of ylang ylang oil and 3 drops of lavender oil to a bowl of steaming water. Place a towel over your head and let the steam cleanse your skin.

Sensual Oil

Ylang ylang's voluptuous exotic scent spreads feelings of warmth, passion and love.

To release the beautiful fragrance of ylang ylang into a room, add 3 drops of ylang ylang oil and 2 drops each of sandalwood and bergamot to a vaporiser.

Put yourself in a romantic mood with a soak in an aromatic bath. Blend together 2 drops of ylang ylang oil, 4 drops of rose oil and 1 drops of jasmine oil.

Create a sensual massage oil by combining 4 drops each of ylang ylang and neroli oil and 3 drops of vetivert oil in 30ml sweet almond oil.

Ylang Ylang Folklore

Ylang ylang is Malayan for 'flower of flowers', and in Indonesia, where ylang ylang grows, the flowers are scattered on the beds of newly-weds as an aphrodisiac.

A gift of ylang ylang flowers is considered a declaration of love. This idea has spread to witchcraft and voodoo, where ylang ylang is used in spells to attract love.

Wearing a garland of the flowers is said to confer strong protection against malevolent spirits. Coconut oil steeped with ylang ylang was applied by massage to heal a person being attacked by evil spirits.