Therapeutic Properties Described in The Aromatherapy Literature
From The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy1:
- Antidepressant, Antiseptic, Aphrodisiac, Hypotensive, Sedative
- Softening and balancing for skin care
- Fischer-Rizzi: “Upon inhaling ylang ylang with its heavy seductive, sweet aroma one can imagine a fiery, temperamental, passionate, and erotic person with an awesome radiance and confidence never losing her balance.”
From The Art of Aromatherapy2:
- Euphoric, sedative effect on the nervous system
- Excellent aphrodisiac qualities
- Good as a massage oil and for facial skin care
Ylang Ylang in Research
When you smell the aroma of ylang ylang, the emotionally balancing and uplifting effects speak for themselves, but recent research emphasizes the positive effects that this oil can have. Scientific studies have found that ylang ylang has a ‘harmonizing effect’ of decreasing arousal of the autonomic nervous system, while also being mentally stimulating3. It has also been found to have significant anxiety-reducing4 and calming effect, which can be measured physiologically by a reduction in blood pressure5.
Summary of Research Studies
- Absorption of ylang ylang oil through the skin with topical application was shown to have significant relaxant effects. The ylang ylang "caused a significant decrease of blood pressure and a significant increase of skin temperature. At the behavioral level, subjects in the ylang ylang oil group rated themselves more calm and more relaxed than subjects in the control group."3
- "A study investigating the mental and physiological effects of inhaling ylang ylang essential oil found that it "reduced the level of arousal of the autonomic nervous system", decreasing pulse rate and systolic blood pressure. On the behavioral level, however, "subjects did not feel more relaxed or drowsy, but in contrast reported to feel more attentive and more alert". The researchers interpret this effect as being "characterized by the concept of 'harmonization' rather than relaxation/sedation."4
- Exposure to ylang ylang essential oils had significant anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) effects in a study on mice. Researchers suggest that this effect may be due to the presence of benzyl benzoate in the oil.5
Ylang ylang essential oil is non-toxic and non-irritating. Test a small amount on the skin before applying liberally. As with all essential oils, please consult a physician if you are pregnant or nursing or if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
1 Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. International Centre of Holystic Aromatherapy, 2003.
2 Tisserand, Robert. The Art of Aromatherapy: The Healing and Beautifying Properties of the Essential Oils of Flowers and Herbs. Healing Arts Press, 1994.
3 Hongratanaworakit, Tapanee, and Gerhard Buchbauer. “Relaxing Effect of Ylang Ylang Oil on Humans after Transdermal Absorption.” Phytotherapy Research, vol. 20, no. 9, Sept. 2006, pp. 758–763., doi:10.1002/ptr.1950.
4 Hongratanaworakit, T., and Gerhard Buchbauer. “Evaluation of the Harmonizing Effect of Ylang-Ylang Oil on Humans after Inhalation.” Planta Medica, vol. 70, no. 7, 2004, pp. 632–636., doi:10.1055/s-2004-827186.
5 Zhang, Nan, et al. “The Anxiolytic Effect of Essential Oil of Cananga Odorata Exposure on Mice and Determination of Its Major Active Constituents.” Phytomedicine, vol. 23, no. 14, 15 Dec. 2016, pp. 1727–1734., doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2016.10.017.