Ylang-ylang. Most of us have heard this fun-to-say, somewhat musical-sounding name, but what is it, exactly? Well, glad you asked! Ylang-ylang’s scientific name is cananga odorata. Ylang-ylang is a tropical tree that’s native to Indonesia and the Philippines, and the essential oil extracted from the trees flowers is commonly used in aromatherapy and perfumery. Historians aren’t quite sure how it got the name ylang-ylang, but many believe that ylang-ylang means “flower of flowers” in Tagalog, a language of the Philippines.
The health benefits of ylang-ylang essential oil have been known for centuries, and it has attracted attention in the western hemisphere in the last 100 or so years—thanks, in part, to the fascinating fact that ylang-ylang is one of the chief ingredients in the famous Chanel No. 5 perfume. (In perfumery circles, ylang-ylang is often called “the Chanel No. 5 tree.”)
Ylang-ylang is believed to:
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Strengthen the nervous system
- Help maintain healthy skin
- Lower blood pressure
- Soothe skin irritation and redness
- Prevent wound infections and accelerate healing
- Increase libido
In aromatherapy preparations, such as the Aura Cacia Euphoric Ylang-Ylang Aromatherapy Mineral Bath that came in the winter Yuzen box, ylang-ylang (with help from bergamot and ginger) provides a soothing, spa-like bath experience that helps make the skin velvety smooth while it refreshes the soul. Dissolve the bath salts into running bath water, or use as a foot soak after a long day.
Visit www.auracacia.com to learn about their other popular aromatherapy products, and check out their extensive and informational “Essential Oil Directory,” which has this to say about ylang-ylang:
“Ylang-ylang oil is distilled from the early morning, fresh-picked flowers of the cananga tree. The distillation process is interrupted at various points and the oil that accumulates is removed. The first oil to be drawn off is the highest quality and is graded “extra.” Ylang-ylang extra has an intense floral, sweet, jasmine-like, almost narcotic aroma. Aromatherapy benefits: sensual, euphoric.”