Essential oils offer far more than just a pleasant smell; they can also be used as a powerful way to bring about physical, mental and emotional change.
Ylang Ylang in particular, is an essential oil with the potential to work with the cardiovascular, endocrine, and hormonal systems, and can also support emotional balance and wellbeing too. Not only that, but it’s also a wonderful natural oil to use on hair and skin. If you’re considering swapping some of your chemical-based products for more natural and environmentally friendly items, this could be the perfect oil to start with….
The sense of smell is closely linked to the emotional centers of the brain, and can help recall memories that may have happened even decades ago. When we inhale a scent, the olfactory bulb in the brain takes the information about that smell, and distributes it to other parts of our most evolved and conditioned part of the brain, collectively known as the limbic system. This is the part responsible for planning, language, remembering events and analysing situations, and importantly, it is conditioned depending upon our experiences, thoughts and habits. The limbic system can change depending upon what we choose to change or maintain in our minds, such as thought patterns or behaviours, which is also known as neuroplasticity. Certain smells can be particularly emotive, and often a whiff of something familiar is enough to take the mind straight back to a moment in time.
In modern day life, the limbic system is pretty busy planning and holding on to an ever-growing to-do list. Stress is prevalent, and so essential oils can be a quick and natural way to calm the brain and nervous system. Perfume companies know how powerful smell can be when it comes to emotions, and ylang ylang is particular effective for raising mood levels, and relieving some of the symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. In fact, one of the oldest known medicinal properties of ylang ylang is its ability to uplift mood and induce feelings of ‘joy and hope’. Keep this oil handy when you’ve got a stressful day ahead, or when you’re going through an emotionally difficult time.
Ylang Ylang oil can be used to treat a myriad of skin issues, perticulaly different forms of inflammatory eczema. Its antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties help to calm skin irritation, and inhibit bacterial growth, virus infection and fungus. When treating inflamed skin or wounds, it can also help to speed up the healing process. Mixed with a base oil or cream, ylang ylang can help balance skin’s oiliness, maintaining moisture and smoothness.
Added to a base oil such as sesame or coconut, ylang ylang can actually help promote strong, shiny hair, and encourages it to grow faster. It’s also a handy natural way to lighten hair, so as the Summer months approach, you can ditch the supermarket chemicals and opt for a natural hair brightener.
Other Benefits of Ylang Ylang
When it comes to essential oils, everyone has different preferences, and you’ll likely opt for a different oil depending upon your own needs. Floral and unlike many other scents, Ylang Ylang can help natural lower blood pressure, as well as provide slightly sedative effects, useful for helping you drift off to sleep if you suffer from insomnia. It’s a natural aphrodisiac, and works well when mixed with bergamot, geranium, grapefruit and sandalwood.
Essential oils are absorbed by the skin far more efficiently when mixed with oil, and adding a few drops to your chosen oil before pouring it into the bath can make a huge difference in the amount of benefit you feel from the oil. Baths are an age-old ritual, used across the world and for a range of different reasons. This bath in particular can be used to soften skin, relieve inflammation, encourage relaxation and make your day a whole lot happier.
Despite the fact that we’ve all been encouraged to cook with plant oils for the past 50 years, they’re actually pretty detrimental to health when they’re heated, becoming rancid and damaging to the body. Sunflower oil is pretty low in beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, so when it comes to consuming the oil, it’d be far more beneficial in the bath than in the frying pan….
In terms of using it outside the body; Sunflower oil is high in vitamin E, which can help protect the collagen and elastin in the skin, lock in moisture, reduce redness, scarring and inflammation, and can help with the development of healthy new skin cells. As Summer approaches, sunflower oil could be your new answer to sore, sunburned skin!
Combining ylang ylang and sunflower oil can result in super soft skin and a huge release of tension, so make this your go-to bath recipe for when you’re in need of some TLC!
To make the bath oil, simply mix 5-7 drops of ylang ylang with roughly a ¼ of a mug of sunflower oil, pour into a warm bath, and slide in. Stay in the water for around 20 minutes, and notice the effects of this powerful natural oil. The sunflower oil will naturally attract towards the skin, so gently rub it in to absorb the benefits of the essential oil. Importantly – make sure you wipe your bath afterwards with a towel in order to remove all the excess oil, and preventing the next person who uses the bath from slipping!