Synonyms: Perfume tree, flower of flowers
Aroma: Warm, sweet, floral, exotic
Colour: Pale yellow.
Plant: Fast growing tree that can reach 20 metres in height. The leaves are oval and pointy with wavy margins around 15 to 20 cms in length and evergreen with a smooth glossy appearance. The flowers are green when they first appear changing to yellow, pink and mauve but the essential oil is only extracted from the yellow flowers.
Main Growing Areas: Philippines, Java, Sumatra, Reunion, Madagascar, the Comores
Major Constituents: para-cresyl methyl ether – contributes to strong euphoric odour and possibly antispasmodic effects.
Linalool – sedative, geranyl acetate and benzyl benzoate – relaxing and calming, caryophyllene – possible anti-inflammatory.
Interesting snippets: Cananga oil (Cananga odorata var macrophylla) is often used to adulterate ylang ylang oil and is also used in soaps and cheap perfumes.
In Japan Ylang Ylang was associated with the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu-o-mi-Kami, ancestor of the Imperial family.
Dr Tim Betts of Birmingham University’s Neuropsychiatry Clinic, UK , stated that Ylang Ylang oil can also be effective for controlling epilepsy, especially when smelt before the onset of a seizure.
Used to treat typhus, malaria and other fevers at the beginning of the century.
Part of Plant used / Extraction: Yellow flowers soon after picking. Steam fractionation as various grades are taken off at various stages of the approx. 20 hour distillation process. Extra (up to 1 hour), first (up to 3 hours), second (up to 6 hours), third (up to 10 hours). A complete oil is continuously distilled for 15 hours without any fraction being taken out or by combining the extra, first and second grades.
Therapeutic actions: Rapid breathing, tachycardia, reduces high blood pressure, PMS
Emotional and Spiritual: Antidepressant, aphrodisiac and sedative that soothes the nerves and softens anger. Anxiety, panic, anger and fear, shock, integrates the emotions and soothes the nervous system
Gabriel Mojay writes that Ylang Ylang may be used by people in whom fear, anxiety and the urge to withdraw have subconsciously blocked their feelings of sexuality.
Suzanne Catty writes that ylang ylang is a top choice for anyone with control issues. The scent being both floral and animal at the same time reconnects the mind and body, something that control often seeks to separate. Ylang Ylang also dispels aggressiveness. She also notes that Ylang Ylang hydrosol is more truly like the crazy, messy, emotional beings that humans really are in physical form.
Robbie Zeck writes that this exotic, sweet ‘flower of flowers’ softens attitudes, breaks old patterns and evokes flexibility. Explore and transform your anger and be mindful of how you are affecting others. Consider where knots of anger may be located in your body. Mindfully apply Ylang Ylang over those parts to nourish and relax your body and mind.
Susanne Fischer-Rizzi states that ylang ylang is helpful in reducing pain and is calming and antispasmodic. She helps reconcile feelings of anger, rage and frustration, replacing them with joy, sensuality, euphoria, inner trust and peacefulness.
Aromatherapy Insight Card:
It is the oil for people of all ages who have too much angry energy. Ylang Ylang has a feminine aroma that brings a sense of peace, love and tenderness.
Ylang Ylang invokes feelings of peace and tranquility, reuniting us with our emotional, caring, nurturing, intuitive side. Balancing left and right brain, Ylang Ylang is the “warm fuzzy” nurturing essential oil that softens us and relieves life’s frustrations that often lead to anger. When locked in that logical, analytical mode, use Ylang Ylang to reveal your inner strength, more resilient and able to conquer any negative emotions you may show. “Be in touch with your feminine side.”
Contemplations for the Soul Card: Are you feeling frustrated, angry, fearful or unhappy?
Look for the underlying cause of your fear and anger and deal with it.
Your anger doesn’t only affect you but others in your circle.
What do you need to feel a sense of peace and wellbeing?
How will you attain it?
Spend time in relaxation practices and learn to deal with your anger more constructively.
You can express your anger in a relatively calm manner without blowing your top.
Is it necessary to get angry and frustrated by the person or situation or can you let it go? If you can, let it go.
If not, express your opinion or feelings in a calm manner and move on.
Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic excessive use may lead to headaches and nausea. Moderate risk of skin sensitisation so use with care on people with hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin and children under 2 years of age.
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Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
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Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)