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What’s the difference in Ylang Extra, I, II, III and Complete?

by Penny Keay

Do you ever wonder what the differences in all those names for the same oil? What makes them different?

Aren’t they all from the same plant Cananga odorata? Yes, but please read on.

Often you will hear that the differences in Ylang Ylang oils are because they are from the flowers being distilled one, two and three times. Well, that is not the way this oil is extracted.

As the Ylang Ylang flowers are processed throughout distillation the different types of oil are fractionated off.

If you know how crude oil can contain all the various petroleum products all the way from gasoline to jet fuel and even wax and you understand the refining process of crude oil, you will easily understand how the distillation by fractionation works with Ylang flowers to obtain the oils there too.

As the steam distillation begins for ylang ylang the very first hour or two the oil that is distilled is what is called Ylang Ylang Extra. That being collected very first and is considered the best for use in perfumery and aromatherapy. It has the best notes of the distillation process.

During the next few hours they will extract in order and by designated amounts of time Ylang I, II and III.

Again, collecting the distilled oil from each time fraction for the various grades of ylang ylang oil. As the distillation process continues less oil is extracted until after 12-18 hours all oil has been extracted.

What is Ylang ylang complete? It can either be the total of all the oil collected during the many hours of distillation, but more likely is just a blend of each of the 4 fractions as they were distilled then blended together in various proportions to give a certain smell quality.

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Ylang Ylang is a tropically grown plant originating in the Phillipines and introduced to the Comoros Islands and Madagascar where it soon became a profitable crop.

Although there are other areas around the globe where the plant has been introduced.  The fragrant yellowish flowers are picked early in the morning and processed immediately to extract the best oil.   

Ylang ylang is a very floral and sweet oil and is used in perfumery. Although it does have many aromatherapy applications too.

Emotionally it will often give you a feeling of euphoria and we have known nursing facilities that have had to keep it under lock and key from the staff while it was supposed to be used by dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The office staff loved getting a whiff too; it raised their level of joy whenever they inhaled it!!

Mainly it is used to help bring about feeling of euphoria, and in some folks is an aphrodisiac.

In cases of insomnia, anxiety and other stress related emotions, it can have sedative type reactions enough to help calm and make one feel peaceful.

It is very useful in helping to relieve stress not only for yourself but for those around you.

It has been used to help those dealing with impotence and frigidity in women due to its’ aphrodisiac like properties.


Of course, if at anytime you have a reaction such as a headache or nausea, discontinue use. Go outside and get fresh air. In very rare individual's, when used on the skin, a sensitivity type reaction could occur. Simply wash off with warm soapy water. As with most essential oils, it is best to not use on children under 2.

Ylang Ylang can be mixed with Jojoba, Fractionated Coconut oil or our Body Spray to make a very floral perfume.

For perfumery, remember to use Ylang Ylang Extra as it has the best smelling properties.

Ylang Ylang 3 smells very wonderful too, but is best used for making soaps, shampoos, and other items such as candles.

One last note, because it is very sweet, we always tell customers – either you love it or you hate it. It is so sweet that sometimes it is almost sickeningly sweet.

If you have never smelled Ylang Ylang and are not sure if you will like it, definitely purchase a sample vial before buying larger quantities. Or if you want to benefit from the euphoria and stress relief it can offer, use it to blend with any number of other essential oils.

Numerous oils blend wonderfully with Ylang ylang oil including orange, lemon, sandalwood, jasmine, neroli, bergamot, rose, citronella, grapefruit, lavender, melissa, patchouli and rosewood.

This is one oil you will definitely want to have in your box of essential oils as it blends well with many other oils not listed above and can bring out the best of all.

So, enjoy this tropical, sweet oil for use in aromatherapy and perfumery.

All the products listed in the article are available at our Shopping Site - see link below.

CLICK HERE to Order supplies

© 2008, 2015 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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