Review Article
Volume 20 Issue 11 - 2021
Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) - More than Just a Pretty Aroma

RE Carlson1, RM Buch2 and JA von Fraunhofer3*

1Executive Director, Research and Analytical Sciences, D. Gary Young Research Institute, Lehi, Utah, United States
2Former Chief Scientific Officer, Young Living, Lehi, Utah, United States
3Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
*Corresponding Author: JA von Fraunhofer, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
Received: July 30, 2021; Published: October 27, 2021


Ylang-ylang essential oil is one of the few essential oils extracted from mature flowers and exploited on a large scale. It is distilled from the flowers of Cananga odorata, commonly known as the Cananga tree but also as fragrant Cananga. Four grades or levels of yang-ylang essential oil are commercially available, namely extra, first, second and third. The distillation time is a determinant of the grade of the extracted oil and the oils vary in the intensity of their scent and have different commercial applications.

Ylang-ylang essential oil, sometimes referred to as Cananga odorata essential oil, is comprised of monoterpenes, terpenic and sesquiterpenic alcohols, sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, acetates, benzoates and phenols, with some differences in the percentages of the specific ingredient content of the 4 grades of oil.

Despite numerous anecdotal reports of the health benefits of ylang-ylang essential oil, there is little scientific literature supporting many of these claims. Ylang-ylang essential oil has long been used in aromatherapy for relaxation and for mood adjustment and although many aromatherapy benefits with ylang-ylang may be anecdotal, there is increasing research evidence to support the mental health and mood benefit claims. Studies indicate that ylang-ylang oil does have a relaxing effect, and there is evidence that aromatherapy with the essential oil achieved some relief of depression and stress. In fact, compared to controls, inhalation of ylang-ylang caused a reduction of heart rate and blood pressure and relief of the arousal level in healthy men.

Studies performed on mice found that ylang-ylang essential oil affected serotonin metabolism in the brain and reduced the blood plasma corticosterone level of the m-CPP-treated mice. It was concluded that the anxiolytic effect was associated with the ERK1/2/CREB pathway in the hippocampus and effects on the serotonin system.

The findings from the various human and animal studies suggest that ylang-ylang essential oil inhalation may be beneficial as an anxiolytic and possibly be valuable for sufferers from PTSD.

Research studies indicate that lignan dicarboxylates and terpenoids extracted from the flower buds of ylang-ylang exhibit a potent inhibitory effect on cell melanogenesis and immune-system cytotoxicity when tested on cancerous melanoma skin cells. This suggests that antioxidants in ylang-ylang oil can help protect skin cells from oxidative stress and DNA damage that can lead to cancer cell formation.

Keywords: Ylang-Ylang; Cananga odorata; Aroma


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Citation: JA von Fraunhofer., et al. “Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata) - More than Just a Pretty Aroma”. EC Dental Science 20.11 (2021): 119-130.

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