The name ylang ylang means “flower of flowers”, and the very fragrant plant is sometimes called “poor man’s jasmine”. The source of this essential oil is a beautiful evergreen tree native to Madagascar and the Philippines. It is now cultivated in several parts of the world, including Sumatra, Java, and Comoros. The oil comes from the tree’s delicate yellow flowers, which have a very sweet scent reminiscent of almonds and jasmine. Many different qualities of oil are available; the finest are said to come from the flowers of trees grown in Reunion and picked in early morning at the beginning of summer. In Indonesia the voluptuously fragrant flowers are ceremonially scattered on the beds of newly married couples. The essential oil is widely used in perfumes and other types of fragrance.

Applications and Effects

Very good for:

  • Particularly effective for accelerated breathing and palpitations, insomnia, and bowel infections.
  • Skin; Combination skin.
  • Circulatory, muscular system; High blood pressure.
  • Digestive system; Gastro-enteritis.
  • Nervous system: Depression, anxiety.
  • Mental/emotional effects: This exotic, luxurious oil creates a feeling of peace and dispels anger, especially anger born of frustration. Its voluptuous nature is reassuring and builds confidence.


Some people may feel headachy or nauseous after using the oil, especially if it is used in concentrated form.