Ylang ylang is a yellow, star-shaped flower that grows on the Cananga tree (Cananga odorata). This tropical species is native to countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, such as India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and parts of Australia. Ylang ylang's heady, aromatic scent is fruity, flowery, and rich. 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.
Characteristics: boost mood, reduce depression, alleviate anxiety, lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, stimulate oil production in the skin and on the scalp, repel flying insects and kill bug larvae. Some people use ylang ylang as an aphrodisiac and for sexual stimulation, although its benefits in this area are primarily anecdotal.
Efficacy: stomach distress, rheumatism, gout, malaria, headache, pneumonia
Can be mixed with essential oils: Bergamot, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lemon, Marjoram, Sandalwood