Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, pronounced “Ee-lang Ee-lang,” receives its common name from the repetition of the Tagalog word “ilang,” meaning “wilderness,” which is where the tree is naturally found. The wilderness to which it is native or in which it is cultivated includes the tropical rainforests of the Philippines, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra, Comoro, and Polynesia. The Ylang Ylang tree, scientifically identified as the Cananga odorata botanical, is also sometimes referred to as The Fragrant Cananga, The Perfume Tree, and The Macassar Oil Plant.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is derived from the steam distillation of the plant’s sea star-shaped flowering parts. It is known to have a scent that can be described as sweetly and delicately floral and fresh with a fruity nuance. There are 5 varieties of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil available in the market: In the first 1-2 hours of distillation, the distillate obtained is called Extra, while grades I, II and III of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil are extracted in the following hours by specifically determined fractions of time. The fifth variety is referred to as Ylang Ylang Complete. This final distillation of Ylang Ylang is typically achieved after it has been distilled for 6-20 hours. It retains the characteristic rich, sweet, floral scent; however, its undertone is more herbaceous than the previous distillations, thus its general scent is lighter than that of Ylang Ylang Extra. The name ‘Complete’ refers to the fact that this variety is the result of a continuous, undisturbed distillation of the Ylang Ylang flower.
In Indonesia, Ylang Ylang flowers, believed to have aphrodisiac properties, are sprinkled on the bed of a newlywed couple. In the Philippines, Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is used by healers to address cuts, burns, and bites from both insects and snakes. In the Molucca islands, the oil was used to make a popular hair pomade called Macassar Oil. In the early 20th century, after its medicinal properties were discovered by a French chemist, Ylang Ylang Oil came to be used as a potent remedy for infections of the intestines and for typhus and malaria. Eventually, it became popular around the world for its ability to promote relaxation by easing the symptoms and effects of anxiety and harmful stress.
Today, Ylang Ylang Oil continues to be used for its health-enhancing characteristics. Due to its soothing and stimulating properties, it is reputed to be beneficial for addressing ailments associated with women’s reproductive health, such as premenstrual syndrome and low libido. Additionally, it is beneficial for calming stress-related ailments such as anxiety, depression, nervous tension, insomnia, high blood pressure, and palpitations.