Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) also known as patchouly or pachouli, is a species of plant from the genus Pogostemon. It is a bushy herb of the mint family, with erect stems, reaching two or three feet (about 0.75 metre) in height and bearing small, pale pink-white flowers. The patchouli plant is native to tropical regions of Asia, and is now extensively cultivated in China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The heavy and strong scent of patchouli has been used for centuries in perfumes and, more recently, in incense, insect repellents and alternative medicines. Pogostemon cablin, P. commosum, P. hortensis, P. heyneasus and P. plectranthoides are all cultivated for their essential oil, known as patchouli oil.
Watch how Aura Cacia sources their Patchouli oil!
Extraction of patchouli essential oil is by steam distillation of the leaves, requiring rupture of its cell walls by steam scalding, light fermentation or drying. Patchouli oil is extracted from the young leaves, which are dried and fermented prior to steam distillation and yields 2 percent to 3 percent. This oil improves with age to have a fuller, more well-rounded odor.
Leaves may be harvested several times a year and, when dried, may be exported for distillation. Some sources claim a highest quality oil is usually produced from fresh leaves distilled close to where they are harvested; others say that baling the dried leaves and fermenting them for a period of time is best.
Check out this Slideshare on growing patchouli plant:
Patchouli Oil Uses
Patchouli oil smell is rich musky-sweet, strong spicy and herbaceous. It is light yellow to dark brown in color and is a thick oil. It has been known to help in the treatment of eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and sores. It provides relief from constipation, and can be used as an temporary antidote or salve against insect bites. Patchouli essential oil blends well with essential oils of Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender and Myrrh.
Its medicinal properties include the following health benefits:
- athlete’s foot and other fungal infections
- insect bites
- loose skin
- oily skin
- sexual anxiety
- stress-related emotional disorders
- water retention
- weight loss
Uses for patchouli oil:
Patchouli Oil Benefits
Benefit #1: Antidepressant
This oil works great for people suffering from depression. It helps them to get over the feelings of sadness or loss and fills them with new hope. That is why patchouli essential oil is so frequently used in aromatherapy. It uplifts mood, drives away disappointment and relaxes tension in the majority of people even if they are being treated for something else. This is due to the impact that inhaling patchouli essential oil has on the hormones and various chemical reactions in the body and mind. By stimulating the release of pleasure hormones like serotonin and dopamine, feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness simply disappear.
Benefit #2: Antiphlogistic
It soothes inflammation, particularly if the inflammation or irritation is a result of fever, and it also provides relief from the fever itself. This means that patchouli essential oil could be useful in treating an array of skin conditions and internal inflammation from conditions, such as arthritis and gout.
Benefit #3: Antiseptic
Patchouli essential oil protects wounds and ulcers from developing infections and becoming septic. This is perhaps the most important property of this oil, since small wounds in the skin can lead to much more serious infections, including tetanus, if the wound was inflicted with a rusty, iron object. Patchouli essential oil protects against that possibility as well.
Benefit #4: Aphrodisiac
Patchouli oil is good for treating sexual problems, including impotency, loss of libido, disinterest in sex, erectile dysfunctions, frigidity and sexual anxiety. It is good for both men and women to put a spark back in the bedroom by stimulating the sexual hormones, estrogen and testosterone, which boosts the sex drive. Patchouli essential oil has been used as an aphrodisiac for hundreds of years.
Benefit #5: Astringent
This powerful essential oil stimulates contractions in muscles, nerves and skin. This helps strengthen the hold of gums on the teeth, prevents sagging skin, hair loss and loosening of muscle tissue. The astringency of patchouli oil also helps stop hemorrhaging by contracting the blood vessels. It can act as an anti-aging substance in this way, since loosening of muscle and skin is commonly associated with getting old.
Benefit #6: Cicatrisant
Patchouli essential oil helps speed the healing process of cuts and wounds, and also hastens the fading of scars. It is similarly effective in eliminating marks left by boils, acne, pox and measles.
Benefit #7: Cytophylactic
This property of the essential oil of patchouli promotes growth by stimulating the generation of new bodily cells. This also helps in the production of red blood cells, which can boost energy levels. By increasing the circulation, it also increases the oxygenation of organs and cells throughout the body, increasing their functionality and boosting the overall metabolism of the body. Patchouli essential oil is particularly good at regenerating new skin cells, thus keeping the skin looking healthy, young and vibrant.
Benefit #8: Deodorant
The strong sweet, spicy and musky aroma of this essential oil eliminates or masks body odor. However, it should be used in a diluted form as the aroma of patchouli oil might be very strong to some people’s olfactory senses. It remains a popular oil to use as a cologne in many cultures and cultural demographics. Some people find the patchouli essential oil smell wonderful while others are somewhat irritated by its distinctive aroma.
Benefit #9: Diuretic
It increases the frequency of urination as well as the quantity of urine. This helps lose weight, lower blood pressure, increase appetite, lower cholesterol and remove toxins from the body. Urination removes excess water, unnecessary salts, and uric acid, which reduces your chances of developing gallbladder stones and kidney stones as well as forming conditions like gout. With its excellent diuretic properties, it is effective in fighting water retention and to break up cellulite, easing constipation and helping to reduce overweight.
Benefit #10: Febrifuge
Patchouli essential oil reduces body temperature in cases of fever by fighting the infections that cause the fever. As an antiphlogistic, it relieves the inflammation caused by fever, which simultaneously helps to bring down the fever because fevers can be reduced to some extent if the pain and inflammation associated with fever are eliminated.
Benefit #11: Fungicide
Patchouli essential oil has been found to be quite effective at inhibiting fungal growths and infections, thereby providing protection from some notorious infections like Athlete’s Foot. Fungal infections can be quite serious, especially when they attack the respiratory system through inhalation. Patchouli essential oil becomes very valuable at that point to keep your body fully protected.
Benefit #12: Insecticide
As mentioned earlier, the insecticidal property of patchouli oil was recognized all the way back in ancient times. Despite smelling sweet, it is very effective at keeping insects at a healthy distance. It is frequently used in sprays, body lotions, fumigants, vaporizers, and incense sticks or it can be mixed with water to wash clothes and bed linen to drive away mosquitoes, ants, bed bugs, lice, fleas, flies and moths. Only a few drops are required to keep insects away, or you can burn the oil in a room and have the effects last even longer. However, be careful about burning the oil inside the house as its distinct smell can quickly seep into fabric and furniture.
Benefit #13: Sedative
It soothes inflammation and sedates convulsions, coughs and epileptic attacks resulting from hypersensitivity or hyper-reactivity of the nerves. It can stop breakouts due to allergies by sedating the hypersensitivity of the body toward certain elements. As an antidepressant and a sedative, patchouli essential oil is good for relaxing the body into a healthy, restful night of sleep. Reducing the signs of insomnia and getting a full night’s sleep can improve your cognitive function, metabolic rates, and mood.
Benefit #14: Tonic
Patchouli oil has a grounding and balancing effect on the emotions and banishes lethargy while sharpening the wits, fighting depression and anxiety. It is also said to create an amorous atmosphere. This property of patchouli oil tones up the whole body. It optimizes metabolic functions like the decomposition of food and absorption of nutrients by toning up the liver, stomach and intestines, thereby helping you to grow stronger and healthier. Patchouli essential oil also takes care of proper excretion, regulates the endocrinal secretions of hormones and enzymes and also tones up the nervous system, thus making you more alert and active. Finally, it boosts the immune system, protecting you from a range of infections.
Benefit #15: Skin Care
On the skin, this oil is one of the most active and is a superb tissue regenerator, which helps to stimulate the growth of new skin cells. In wound healing, it not only promotes faster healing, but also helps to prevent ugly scarring when the wound heals. Patchouli oil for skin is very effective in sorting out rough, cracked and overly dehydrated skin and is used to treat acne, acne, eczema, sores, ulcers, any fungal infections and scalp disorders. The skincare value of patchouli is wonderful! It helps break down cellulite and stimulates the growth of new skin cells. This means it speeds up healing and helps prevent scarring. Try using patchouli in unscented creams and lotions for general skin care.
Health benefits of Patchouli oil:
Reminders in Using Patchouli Oil
The long-lasting aroma of patchouli essential oil, though sweet, may be too strong and almost unpleasant to some people. Be cautious about using too much or smelling too strongly of it because the aroma can be irritating to certain people. It is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing, but the smell of patchouli oil may be a little persistent for some people and large doses may cause loss of appetite in some individuals. Ask your doctor about patchouli essential oil pregnancy use.
How to Use Patchouli Essential Oil
Inhalation is the quickest and most effective (and the most convenient!) way to get an essential oil into your system. It is also the most appropriate method when dealing with respiratory, mental or any systemic issues.
Patchouli aromatherapy is said to help relieve anxiety, stress and depression. Its calming effect is very effective for relaxation and meditation. Simply add a few drops in a diffuser or vaporizer.
There are quite a few ways to use essential oils on your skin. This can be effective when dealing with a more localized issue, such as a skin condition or specific pain. Always use with caution when putting essential oils on your skin. Some oils are not appropriate to use neat (undiluted) on the skin. Always do a patch test first.
Patchouli essential oil can be used neat on the skin or mix two to three drops per ounce of carrier oil for the following conditions: Acne, dermatitis and eczema, loose skin, oily skin and for insect bites. You can mix it into your face cream, lotion, or shampoo, or even add it to your bathwater.
Patchouli can be applied to the skin by dropping a few drops of the oil on a cotton ball and dabbing the affected area. Again, do a patch test first. This method can be useful with athlete’s foot and other fungal infections, insect bites, skin conditions, and to clean wounds, it may be helpful to wet the cotton ball first. Also use this method to apply patchouli as a deodorant or antiperspirant.
- Add eight to 10 drops of patchouli to your bath water for constipation or to help to tighten loose skin, reduce appetite or to ease water retention.
- For dandruff, mix two to three drops in unscented conditioner and apply to scalp. Leave on for 3-5 minutes, then rinse.
- When using patchouli oil for hair, add two to three drops to a nickel-sized amount of unscented shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse.
- Massage it on your skin to help prevent wrinkles and cellulites. Simply dilute it in a light carrier oil.
- Dab a small amount on your skin to soothe cuts, scrapes, burns and sores, and insect bites.
- Apply a few drops on your wrists or add it to your sheets to keep ants, bed bugs, and other pests away.
- Put two to three drops on a cotton ball and dab it on your underarms to prevent body odor.
- Mix a couple of drops into your shampoo or conditioner to treat dandruff and oily hair. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing.
Check out this video to find out how to use patchouli oil!