(cananga odorata)


Article by Kaniz F. Shah

Botanical Name: cananga odorata
English Name:  ylang ylang
Hindi Name:   
Popular Name(s): ylang ylang
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum/Division: magnoliophyta
Class: magnoliopsida
Order: magnoliales
Family: annonaceae (tropical trees & shrubs)
Genus: cananga
Species: c. odorata
Parts Used: flower
Habitat: Caribbean, tropical islands
Effect / Energy:  Oil extraction method: steam distilled from flowers Oil blends with: bergamot, geranium, grapefruit, lemon, marjoram, sandalwood, vetiver
Extraction method:  
Blends with:  


Best essential oil for passion and enthusiasm


      promotes a sense of well-being & happiness, uplifts, calms, relaxes, relieves stress & tension


      Promotes passion & enthusiasm, encourages confidence & sensuality, influences sexual energy, enhances relationships and may help alleviate anger.







Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, sedative, tonic

Plant Description:

Tall and majestic ylang ylang tree displays clusters of large and beautiful star-shaped flowers on downward drooping branches. The fragrance is fresh, floral, sweet, seductive and exotic. This refreshing scent is relaxing, almost intoxicating. These flowers have been used to spread on the beds of newly married couples during their wedding night. Due to its luscious fragrance, it is commonly used in perfumes, skincare and bath and body products. It is also extensively used in aromatherapy. Surprisingly, this flower originally did not have a fragrance. It is from selection and cloning that we are able to enjoy this fragrance.

Health Benefits of ylang ylang:

  • Balancing Emotions:

    The oil of ylang ylang has long been used to relieve depression, anxiety, frustration and to balance the emotions and mental fatigue.
  • Heart Health:

    Throughout the tropics and Europe, many people have regulated their respiration, heart rate and arterial hypertension with ylang ylang. It is also used to balance other heart functions.
  • Digestive Support:

    Ylang ylang has been used to treat colic, constipation, indigestion and stomachaches.
  • Other Benefits:

    The oil has also been used for sex drive problems, insomnia, impotency and to soothe insect bites and infections.

Ylang ylang for the Hair:

Ylang ylang is a common hair remedy used to make hair thick, shiny and lustrous. It makes the hair healthy and has been used to prevent split ends and hair loss.

Ylang ylang for the Skin:

  • Balances oil and acne:

    Ylang ylang oil benefits all skin types but is especially effective in treating oily skin because it balances oil production and reduces excessive oiliness. By fighting bacterial infection, it helps control acne and blemishes.
  • Anti-aging:

    Ylang ylang oil softens and smoothens skin and stimulates new cell growth. It reportedly can cope with wrinkles and premature aging because it relaxes facial muscles and releases facial tension that can contribute to lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.


This article is for informational purpose only. Ylang ylang is not a treatment for any disease or condition. It is generally safe when diluted and used on the skin or hair, but to ensure safety, it is best to do an allergy test. Avoid overusing because it may cause sensitization. Consult your doctor before using for medical purposes.

1."Single Essential Oils." Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils. 4th ed. Orem: AromaTools, 2012. 84.
2.Bull, Ruah. "The Spring Months." Daily Aromatherapy Transforming the Seasons of Your Life with Essential Oils. By Joni Keim. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2008. 135.
3.Harding, Jennie. The Herb Bible: A Complete Guide to Growing and Using Herbs. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2005.
4.Classification: Article last updated 11/15/14