Reviewing Fragrant Ylang Ylang
The beautiful Cananga odorata tree, commonly called ylang ylang, “is a tropical tree which originates from the Philippines and is valued for its perfume. The essential oil derived from the flowers is used in aromatherapy.”1
Fragrant ylang ylang flowers
A 2015 ylang ylang review by Malaysian researchers has wonderful information on traditional uses of this beautifully scented essential oil. (Note: the Malaysians hyphenate ylang ylang.)
The strongly fragrant yellow flower of C. odorata has been reported to be used to enhance the scent of coconut oil before being used for massage by Polynesians [who] live in South Pacific islands. In Java, the dried flowers of C. odorata are used to treat malaria and malaria-like symptoms. Similarly, it is also recognized as medicinal plants used against malaria traditionally in Vietnam. . . . Currently, ylang-ylang oil can be found in various cosmetic and household products such as the massage oils, moisturizing creams, perfumes, and even scented candles.2
After GC/MS and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) analysis, the researchers listed the main components of the oxygenated fraction of ylang ylang essential oil as p-methylanisole, methyl benzoate, benzyl benzoate, benzyl acetate, geranyl acetate, cinnamyl acetate, and (E,E)-farnesyl aceate, linalool, geraniol, and benzyl salicylate.
The study reports:
The synergistic effects of ylang-ylang oil with different combinations of essential oils for treatment of microbial infections have also been reported. For an example, a study has proven that the combinations of ylang-ylang oil and thyme oil were significantly more effective against S. aureus ATCC 25923, and its synergistic effect was observed between both of the essential oils in which the inhibition zone was increased by 38.4% as compared to thyme oil alone.3
The ylang ylang review explores the use of ylang ylang essential oil against biofilms. Biofilms are a dangerous problem for all implanted devices be they dental or for hip and knee replacements. However, the use of implanted devices covers much more than just hip and knee replacements.
An article by the CDC warns of:
. . . microbial biofilms that develop on or within indwelling medical devices (e.g., contact lenses, central venous catheters and needleless connectors, endotracheal tubes, intrauterine devices, mechanical heart valves, pacemakers, peritoneal dialysis catheters, prosthetic joints, tympanostomy tubes, urinary catheters, and voice prostheses).4
After noting that plant-derived essential oils have been tested extensively against biofilm formation, the ylang ylang review explains, “A study revealed that ylang-ylang oil exhibited strong antibiofilm activity at dose-dependent manner against biofilm formation of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538.”5
Another biofilm study quoted by the Malaysians discussed combining the effect of magnetic nanoparticles as a delivery system with ylang ylang oil to coat surfaces of implantations to reduce the development of biofilm:
The study has shown the incorporation of ylang-ylang oil with iron oxide@C14 nanoparticles effective in inhibiting the initial adherence phase of clinical strains of both S. aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae with more than 2-log reduction to the coated catheter specimens. The results of the study have suggested the potential use of ylang-ylang oil in nanobiosystems with antibiofilm activity.6
We could go on all day with the great topics discussed in this study but will just list the headings. Bioactivities of C. odorata: Antimicrobial Activity; Antibiofilm Properties; Antioxidant Properties; Antivector/Insecticidal/Antipest Properties; Insect Repellent Properties; Antimelangogenesis; Anti-Inflammatory Properties; Sedative, Relaxing, and Harmonizing Effects; Effects on Mood and Cognitive Performance; Spermatotoxic Properties (it seems ylang ylang reduces the production of testosterone); and Antihyperglycemic Effects and Antidiabetic Complications Properties.
We are pleased to share with our readers that the full ylang ylang study may be downloaded at no charge at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4534619/.
This review gives a full 360° view of the many supportive and beneficial properties of ylang ylang. The authors of the study state: “And overall, this review emphasizes the potential of C. odorata to be used as new therapeutic drugs and also provides sufficient baseline information for future works and commercial exploitation.”7
Before reading this research article, did you realize all that this fragrant essential oil can do? We surely have learned a new respect for this exotic oil!
- Tan LTH, et al. Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivities of Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:896314. [Epub ahead of print]
- Tan, op cit.