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Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions

Ylang ylang essential oil (Cananga odorata) is one of my favorite oils. Although it's often only thought of as only a nice-smelling oil, the physical and emotional support ylang ylang can offer is much more than just a room deodorizer. It's smells overwhelming floral and sweet...in fact the descriptions I've read of the aroma include words like "intoxicating", "cloying", even "narcotic", which is interesting since historically it's said the original wild flower actually had no aroma at all.

Ylang ylang oil is said to work with the cardiovascular, endocrine, and hormonal systems, as well as supporting emotional and spiritual balance. Many of these properties and the potential uses for ylang ylang are those that closely link the body to the emotions or the mind, showing very clearly the min-body connection and how Nature can help our body find balance as a whole.

Primary Benefits

  • Helps balance hormones
  • Promotes healthy skin and hair
  • Lifts mood while having a calming effect

Emotional Benefits

On a strictly emotional and spiritual level, ylang ylang essential oil is truly the oil of the heart (the best in my opinion). It can help us connect to our own heart, process things from the heart, and heal emotional traumas. It's also thought to be the oil of the inner child, helping us connect to our own sense of inner joy and being in the moment, as children so easily do. This allows us to play, release bottled up emotions, and move back into our sense of trust in the process of Life.

Complimentary Oils

Ylang Ylang blends well with Bergamot, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lemon, Marjoram, Sandalwood, and Vetiver essential oils. Depending on your uses for this oil, substitutes may include Lavender, Bergamot, Geranium, or Vetiver essential oils.

How to Use Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Traditionally, ylang ylang essential oil uses these application guidelines. Click the banner to understand what each symbol means and to learn how each is used safely and effectively:

How to use essential oils!
Adults Children/Sensitive Pregnancy

Precautions of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker.

Popular Uses of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

  • Put Ylang Ylang into an Epsom Salt bath for relaxation.
  • Refresh your skin with an aromatherapy steam facial using Ylang Ylang essential oil.
  • Put on your wrists for a sweet and floral perfume.
  • Add Ylang Ylang to fractionated coconut oil for a deep hair conditioner
  • Massage into the shoulders or back, apply to the feet, or use aromatically to promote peace. (I've even tried tossing it at the heads of cranky people, but that didn't go over well.)
  • For emotional balance, I find that ylang ylang oil is best used either over the heart or aromatically (even inhaled directly from the bottle).

Inspiration for Using Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Romantic Bath: Mix 10 drops each Ylang Ylang and Geranium essential oils along with 15 drops Grapefruit essential oil into 2 cups of Epsom salt. Pour under running hot water. Dissolve salt completely before bathing. Soak 15-30 minutes

Aphrodisiac Massage Oil: Mix 5 drops Ylang Ylang, 3 drops Sandalwood, and 3 drops Wild Orange in 1 tsp of carrier oil. Massage on inner thighs.

Joyful Diffuser Blend: 2 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Grapefruit, and 1 drop Ylang Ylang.


Not all oils are created equal. Because of a lack of industry standards and a lack of regulation on terms such as "natural" or "pure", much of what you find at the drug store is NOT a therapeutic grade of essential oil and may lack real quality or even contain contaminants or adulterants (way more common than you'd think).

A LOT goes into creating a high quality essential oil. A good brand should follow these guidelines:

  • Proper plant varieties
  • Each plant grown indigenously for the healthiest plant
  • Grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc
  • Harvested with precise timing to ensure peak properties
  • Extracted with proper temp and pressure to preserve oil molecules
  • Third-party testing of every batch
  • Stand behind the internal use of their oils

Beginner's Guide to Application and Precautions, from SustainableBabySteps.com

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