Patchouli oil comes from a species of plant with the genus Pogostemon. From the labiatae family, it includes lavender, mint and sage. This bushy herb has rigid stems, reaching two or three feet in height, and produces small, pale pink flowers. The plant is native to tropical regions of Asia, and is now extensively cultivated in China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mauritius, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The components of patchouli oil include alpha patchoulene, beta patchoulene, alpha guaiene, alpha bulnesene, caryophyllene, norpatchoulenol, patchouli alcohol, seychellene and pogostol.
Extraction of patchouli essential oil is by steam distillation of the leaves; the cell walls must be broken with steam scalding, light fermentation or drying the leaves. Patchouli leaves may be harvested several times a year, and when they are dried, they can be exported for distillation.
The strong scent of patchouli oil has been used for centuries in perfumes; more recently it’s been used in incense, insect repellents and alternative medicines. It’s also commonly used for skin care because of its ability to help alleviate skin issues, and it’s considered one of best home remedies for acne, as well as for eczema, inflammation, and cracked, chapped or irritated skin. It has cell-rejuvenating properties, which is why it’s often used in anti-aging skin care; it has the power to lessen the look of scars or marks on the skin.
Patchouli oil’s antifungal properties make it useful in treating athlete’s foot, and it has the power to alleviate inflammation that is due to an infection. It also helps alleviate signs of dandruff in hair, as it balances oiliness and builds strength.
Patchouli Oil Benefits
There are so many amazing health and beauty benefits from just a few drops of patchouli oil. Some of the most common benefits of patchouli essential oil include :
- Fights depression
- Boosts immune system
- Works as a natural deodorant
- Stops fungal growth
- Reduces inflammation
- Enhances mood
- Strengthens hair
- Fights infections
- Clears dandruff
- Treats skin conditions
- Works as a bug repellent
- Stimulates hormones
- Fights fever
12 Patchouli Oil Uses
- Patchouli oil is commonly used in aromatherapy because of its depressant remedying properties. Because of the impact that inhaling patchouli oil has on our hormones, it encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine; these hormones ease feelings of anger, anxiety and anxiousness.
- This is why patchouli oil is commonly used during prayer; it creates an atmosphere or tranquility. An easy way to experience this benefit is to add five drops of patchouli oil to an oil diffuser or burner; you can even try adding 10 drops of patchouli oil to a warm bath.
2. Reduces Inflammation
- Patchouli oil has antiphlogistic properties, which means that it has the power to soothe inflammation in the body. With inflammation at the root of most disease, patchouli oil can address internal inflammation and such conditions as arthritis and gout, and also deal with external inflammation that can be present in skin infections or irritations.
- Rub five drops of patchouli oil into your hands and massage your feet, stomach, lower back or any other agitated or inflamed area. (1)
3. Prevents Infections
- There is always the risk of small wounds become infected and this leads to bigger problems, like tetanus. Patchouli oil is antiseptic, meaning it protects cuts or sores on the skin from becoming infected. It also kills fungus, so it can help if you are battling athlete’s foot or another fungal infection. Simply rub 2–3 drops of patchouli oil on the infected area, or make yourself a warm bath with 5–10 drops of this infection preventing oil. (2)
4. Helps Metabolic System
- Patchouli oil is a tonic, which means that is helps to tone your liver, stomach and intestines. This increases your ability to decompose food and absorb nutrients properly, so it impacts your digestive system. Because of these metabolic benefits, patchouli oil will give you more energy and help your body to function properly.
- Inhaling patchouli oil with an oil burner or diffuser can make a big difference; you can also use patchouli oil as a dietary supplement. Try adding 1–2 drops to a cup of tea or a glass of water.
5. Stimulates Hormones
- Patchouli oil has the power to stimulate hormones and increase your libido, or sex drive. It can be be considered as one of the natural remedies for impotency and erectile dysfunction. Used as an aphrodisiac for years, patchouli oil boosts your testosterone and estrogen levels, and this can have a huge impact on your intimate relationships.
6. Strengthens Hair and Skin
- Patchouli oil stimulates muscle contractions and, therefore, prevents hair loss or sagging skin. Patchouli essential oil regenerates new skin cells, and this keeps the skin looking young, healthy and vibrant. It is also great for all skin types — dry, cracked skin and oily or acne-prone skin; you will see the healing and germ-fighting benefits of this oil either way.
- Try adding five drops of patchouli oil to your face wash or lotion, or you can massage the oil on your face directly. For your hair, massage five drops of patchouli oil into your scalp or add it to your conditioner.
7. Minimizes Scars
- Because of its quick-healing properties, patchouli oil minimizes the look of scars or marks that are left from acne, wounds, measles, pox or boils. You can even heal bug bites with this powerful essential oil. To speed up the healing process of any unwanted marks on the skin, rub 2–3 drops of patchouli oil into your hands and then apply it the scarred area. Do this daily and you will begin to see the mark disappear.
8. Reduces Insomnia
- It’s very important that you can a full night’s sleep; in fact, proper sleep has a positive impact on every system in your body. Because patchouli oil is a sedative, it helps to treat insomnia; it helps to put your mind and body at ease and allows you to rest peacefully.
- Simply rub 2–3 drops of patchouli oil into your hands and cup your nose; just by breathing in the sweet scent of patchouli oil, you will experiences the benefits of its sedative properties. You can also touch your temples, neck and chest after rubbing the oil into your hands.
9. Bug Repellent
- Just a few drops of patchouli oil will go a long way in keeping the bugs at bay. This bug-repelling oil can be used in sprays, lotions and vaporizers; it will repel mosquitoes, fleas, ants, lice, moths and flies. You can use patchouli oil outside while you are gardening or dining in the backyard, or you can use it inside — especially if you are battling bed bugs or lice; try adding patchouli oil to your laundry detergent or burn five drops of the oil in an oil burner. (3)
10. Fights Fever
- Patchouli oil has a number of powerful properties, which allows it to fight a fever and beat a cold with ease. Patchouli oil reduces inflammation and kills infections; this will bring down your body temperature and reduce the pain that is associated with a fever. It also has cooling properties, so rubbing the oil into your hands, neck and stomach will reduce your body temperature.
11. Natural Deodorant
- Patchouli oil has a sweet, musky and spicy aroma; it can be used to mask body odor naturally. It also kills germs and fights fungus, so it’s makes a great natural home deodorizer for any infected area.
- Rub 1–2 drops under your armpits or add it to your favorite body lotion. Keep in the mind that the scene it pretty strong, so only a drop or two will do the trick.
12. Natural Diuretic
- Patchouli oil increases the frequency of urination, and this can be beneficial to your health in several ways: You are removing excess salt, water and uric acid, which is good for your gallbladder diet, kidney natural remedies and even a liver cleanse.
- By removing toxins from your body, you can lower your blood pressure, lower cholesterol naturally and increase your appetite. You can consume 3–5 drops of patchouli oil by mixing it with lemon water or flavored tea.
Patchouli Oil History
- Patchouli comes from the Hindustan word “pacholi” meaning “to scent.” Indian shawls and fabrics were scented with patchouli oil in the 1800s.
- There are several species of patchouli that are grown in different parts of Asia, including India, Indonesia, China, Brazil and Malaysia. The cablin species is commonly considered a superior species, especially for therapeutic use.
- This well-known essential oil has a reputation as the scent of the hippy generation. The definition of patchouli in the urban dictionary, for example, is “a pungent scented oil usually worn by those who live an alternative or bohemian lifestyle, like artists, musicians, hippies, bikers and punk-rockers.” (4) This reputation has caused some people to stay away from the smell of patchouli oil, as they relate it to a scent that covers the smell of body odor. Although it’s known for its use during the 1960s, traditional use dates back hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.
- In India, for instance, patchouli oil was used in cloth and clothing because it works as a moth repellent. In fact, it’s said that the scent of patchouli oil became an indicator of true ‘Oriental’ fabric, and the English and French garment makers would scent their imitation products with patchouli so that the products would sell.
- Patchouli oil is a highly valuable product in the fragrance industry and its quality changes depending upon raw material age and oil storage — so just like wine, patchouli oil gets better with age.
Research, Unique Compounds and Studies
- Patchouli oil is known to have neuroprotective, anti-influenza and anti-inflammatory activities, and one study researched where it can be considered a natural cancer treatment. In 2013, researchers performed an in vitro study to investigate whether patchouli oil affects an increase and infection of human colorectal (colon and rectum) cancer cells, and define its potential molecular mechanisms.
- The data found that patchouli oil suppressed cell growth and induced apoptosis, which means that the cells were no longer a threat. In addition, the patchouli oil reduced enzyme activity — the reactions that cancer can have on the body. These surprising and optimistic findings suggest that patchouli oil exerts an anti-cancer activity by decreasing cell growth and increasing apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells (5).
- Another interesting study measured whether or not patchouli oil is effective as a pesticide. Serious fruit and vegetable pests, such as moths, that require multiple insecticide applications per year were put up against 17 essential oils, including patchouli oil, thyme oil, garlic oil and lemongrass essential oil. To reduce non-target exposure to hazardous insecticides and curb resistance development, these alternative controls were found to be required.
- Based on these results, patchouli oil and other essential oils have sufficient efficacy to be considered as components of an essential oil-based insecticide that targets these pests
Patchouli Oil Side Effects
- Patchouli oil is regarded as safe when used in regulated amounts. It’s used as a dietary supplement, but it’s not advised for children who are under the age of 6. There is not a lot of scientific evidence to support the safety of patchouli oil for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so if you plan to use the oil, regulate the doses.
- Because it works as a sedative, in large amounts it can alter your energy levels. It can also cause sensitivity when used topically in large amounts. When using patchouli oil, start off by diluting a small amount with water to make sure that you will not have a negative reaction.