Welcome to July! This month's Oil of the Month is ylang-ylang. There are several reasons this oil fit perfectly for July. The sweet, rich, flowery scent is from the yellow, star-shaped tropical flower that grows on the Cananga tree (Cananga odorata). It is native to countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, such as India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and parts of Australia.
The ylang ylang flower is used to make several types of essential oil, via steam distillation. The oils vary in the intensity of their scent. "Ylang ylang extra" is the most potent essential oil derived from the ylang ylang flower. This oil is often used as a top note in perfumes, such as Chanel Number Five. The less potent essential oils are used as medium-to-base notes in perfume, and to make products such as cologne, lotion, food flavoring, and soap. The subtlest form of ylang ylang is often known as "Cananga oil".
Ylang ylang has been found in research to promote various points of health and wellness, including acting as a mood booster, reducing depression, alleviating anxiety, lowering blood pressure, decreasing heart rate, repel flying insects and kill bug larvae.
For starters, Ylang Ylang can improve mental clarity by clearing your cerebral clutter and clearing the road for a fast track to happy thoughts and feelings. Along with clearing cluttered thoughts, the oil also features aphrodisiac properties as well. It is also known to inspire creativity, making it great to have around when you’re getting in touch with the romantic artist in you. Additionally, this oil can encourage feelings of self-worth, which self-love is its own form of romance if you ask us. Whether it’s the thing you love (jazz trumpet, watercolor painting, etc.) or the one you love, Ylang Ylang is there.
If stress is weighing you down, taking in the floral aroma of ylang ylang can lighten the weight of depression and general feelings of sadness. Whether you’re feeling a little down or looking for a mental bump, Ylang Ylang is an exceptional oil for the job.
Dr. Kac Young, (doctor of naturopathy and clinical hypnotherapy) states, "the exotic, sweet smell calms the body by helping to reduce blood pressure, calms a rapid heartbeat and eases shock and anxiety." Research has also found ylang-ylang to be successful in reducing the occurrence of panic attacks, due to its antispasmodic and nervine properties, which means its a great travel companion for those who have a fear of flying!
Speaking of flying... slang slang can also be used to ward off flying insects. Though not the number one recommended oil for the job (that's lemon eucalyptus), ylang ylang has been used as a mosquito repellent successfully in some studies.
How to use ylang ylang
Ylang ylang essential oil should always be diluted. It can be mixed with a carrier oil, and used for dry skin care and for massage. It can also be rubbed on the scalp to promote oil production and reducing dryness and dandruff. Ylang ylang can also be inhaled as an aromatherapy treatment by using in a room diffuser. Ylang ylang is irritating for some people, so always do a patch test first and wait 24 hours before using over a large area.
Always dilute it. To use topically, add one drop of essential oil for each teaspoon of carrier oil.
Store properly. Store in an opaque, glass container in a cool, dark place.
Use and monitor its quality. Ylang ylang has a long shelf life, so you can make several batches to store for a year, or longer. However, never use an oil that has expired or smells rancid.