Within Reach

The Co-Impact Story of Ylang Ylang


Why Ylang Ylang?

Since the late 1800s, ylang ylang, or Cananga odorata, has been grown in Nosy Be, and from these trees comes some of the highest quality Ylang Ylang oil in the world. Originally introduced to Madagascar by French perfumers when it was a French colony, ylang ylang has a very refined process of distillation. As the perfume industry needs very specific scents, a specific method was developed unique to this oil. Ylang ylang is divided out into several different profiles: Ylang Ylang I, II, III, extra, and complete. This means that different weighted molecules come off during differing times in the distillation process, top notes first, and bottom notes last. For doTERRA Ylang Ylang, the Ylang Ylang complete profile is used.

doTERRA requires the complete profile so that there is no separation of aromatic molecules, thus ensuring that we receive the complete array of compounds produced by the delicate flowers for its full therapeutic benefit. Perfumers, on the other hand, prefer separation for specific fragrance profiles. This precious oil is often used for its mood lifting properties as well as for promoting healthy looking skin and hair. Ylang Ylang is also one of the primary oils in our Console blend because of its ability to soothe emotions.


For the Future

The Healing Hands Foundation is in the process of reviewing possibilities for a community benefitting project in Nosy Be in partnership with a ylang ylang cooperative that doTERRA works with through the Co-Impact Sourcing initiative.

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The Intricate Process

Ylang Ylang essential oil is incredibly labor intensive to produce. Harvest time peaks from December to March. Before a tree can be harvested, it needs to grow for three to four years. Once that age is reached, the process can begin:

  1. When flowers become yellow with a red center, they are ready to be picked. The trees must be harvested multiple times over a five to six week period.
  2. Harvesters collect the flowers and bring back their filled baskets to be weighed. They then create a pile on a platform and write their names next to their pile for record keeping and payment.
  3. The flowers are then delivered to a nearby distillery where they must be distilled within 24 hours.
  4. Like all flowers, ylang ylang must be distilled in a hydrodistillation process, meaning they are placed in water and boiled to create steam that contains the oil. This process takes 24 hours to complete, with workers keeping up hand-fed fires to fuel the distillation process.

  5. Ylang Ylang complete essential oil is then ready to be sent out.

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