Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli oil has been a staple of the perfume industry for a long time. Its earthy scent was popular during the hippie culture of the sixties.

However, there is much more to this unique oil than its distinctive warm and spicy aroma. The strong antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory and sedative properties of patchouli essential oil provide a wide range of therapeutic uses.

It helps in treating wounds and infections, relieves anxiety and depression and boosts the immune system.

Read on to learn more about patchouli essential oil and its many health benefits and uses.

What is patchouli essential oil?

Patchouli oil is extracted by steam distilling the leaves of the patchouli plant (genus Postgemon). Patchouli is an evergreen perennial plant that belongs to the Labiatae family, which includes mint, sage, and lavender.

The name ‘patchouli’ comes from the ancient Tamil words ‘patchai’ and ‘ellai’ that means ‘green leaf.’ Patchouli is originally from southeast Asia, and it is grown in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Patchouli essential oil is pale yellow or green, and it has a strong, spicy, woody and musky aroma. Another unique feature of patchouli oil is that it grows better with age. Its pale yellow color turns deep amber, and its scent becomes more vibrant with age.

The main components of patchouli essential oil include alpha patchoulene, beta patchoulene, alpha guaiene, alpha bulnesene, caryophyllene, norpatchoulenol, patchouli alcohol, seychellene, and pogostol.

History of patchouli essential oil

Though patchouli became popular during the 1960s, it has been used for thousands of years before that.  The ancient Romans used it as an appetite stimulant. It is also believed that King Tutankhamun was buried with 10 gallons of patchouli essential oil inside his tomb.

It was also used to scent fabrics like silks and shawls to prevent moths and other insects from damaging these fabrics that were exported to other countries in the 1800s. The scent of patchouli became an indicator of authentic oriental fabric during these times.

Nowadays patchouli oil is used in perfumes, cosmetics, detergents, and other cleaning products.

Benefits and uses of patchouli essential oil

1. Relieves depression

Patchouli essential oil stimulates the release of serotonin and dopamine. These hormones help get rid of stress, anxiety, anger, and negative emotions and instill a feeling of happiness and calmness.

These qualities make patchouli highly effective against depression. Patchouli oil is also used during prayers as it creates an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

Ways to use

  • Diffuse a few drops of patchouli oil in a diffuser.
  • You can also add patchouli oil to your bathwater.

2. Prevents infections

The antiseptic properties of patchouli essential oil protect the body from infections and sepsis. It protects the cuts and wounds on the skin from becoming infected (1).

It is also effective against fungal infections, so it can be used to treat athlete’s foot. This oil also helps to treat internal infections caused by bacteria.

Ways to use

  • Rub a few drops of patchouli essential oil on the infected wound.
  • Add 5 to 10 drops of this oil to a warm bath.

3. Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases. Patchouli oil has the power to soothe inflammation in the body, which helps to treat conditions like arthritis and gout. It can also help deal with skin infections.

A 2017 study from China studied the effect of patchouli oil in chemically induced edema in paws and ears of mice. The study concluded that patchouli oil exhibits anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting NF-κB and downregulating of COX-2/iNOS (2).

During another study, researchers administered patchouli oil to rats with inflammatory bowel disease. They concluded that rats treated with patchouli oil had less damage and immune cell accumulation in their colon (3).

Ways to use

  • Rub a few drops of patchouli oil on the lower back, stomach, and feet or any other inflamed area.

4. Improves metabolic function

Patchouli oil has tonic properties that help improve metabolic function. It tones and strengthens the liver, stomach, and intestines. It improves the digestive system by increasing the ability to decompose food and absorb nutrient properly.

It also regulates proper excretion, which leads to an immune system boost and protects the body from infection. These metabolic benefits provide the body with more energy and help it work better.

Ways to use

  • Inhale it using a diffuser or a burner.
  • Add one or two drops in your tea or water and drink it.

5. Acts as a diuretic

Patchouli essential oil increases both the quantity and the frequency of urine, which helps to remove toxins and excess water from the body.

Removing toxins from the body helps lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and increases the appetite. It is also suitable for the gallbladder, kidney, and liver.

Patchouli essential oil also helps in lowering uric acid accumulation in the body, which reduces the risk of developing gallbladder stones and gout.

Ways to use

  • Add three or four drops of patchouli oil to lemon water or flavored tea and drink it.

6. Improves sex dive

Patchouli essential oil has potent aphrodisiac properties. It stimulates hormones and enhances libido. It can boost both testosterone and estrogen levels and is helpful for people dealing with impotence and erectile dysfunction.

It helps to cure anxiety and frigidity during sex. Patchouli oil helps to improve the sex drive of man and women equally and has been used as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years.

Ways to use

  • Diffuse a few drops of patchouli oil in a diffuser.

7. Fights fever

Patchouli essential oil can reduce temperatures by fighting infections and reducing inflammation. It is antiphlogistic, which means it can reduce fever and the pain associated with it.

Ways to use

  • Rub patchouli oil on your hands, neck an stomach to reduce fever.

8. Improves skin

Patchouli oil improves the circulation of the blood, which promotes the generation of new skin cells and keeps the skin looking young, healthy and glowing. Its healing and germ-fighting ability prevent acne, dry and cracked skin.

During a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, mice were treated with patchouli oil for two hours and exposed to UV radiation. The study showed that the mice treated with patchouli oil had less wrinkle formation and increased collagen content (4).

Ways to use

  • Add four or five drops of patchouli oil to your face wash or lotion.

9. Haircare

Patchouli oil has antiseptic properties that help prevent and treat dandruff. It also stimulates muscle contractions, which strengthens the hair follicles and prevents premature hair loss.

Ways to use

  • Mix a few drops of patchouli essential oil to your shampoo or hair conditioner. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse.
  • You can also massage this oil directly on your scalp.

10. Reduces scar marks

Patchouli oil contains cicatrisant properties, which means it has cell regenerative and skin healing properties. It regenerates skin cells minimizes the scar marks from acne, wounds, boil or measles. You can heal bug bites with the help of this oil.

Ways to use

  • Rub two or three drops of patchouli oil on your hands and then apply it to the scarred area.

11.  Improves oral health

Patchouli oil has antibacterial properties which make it an effective solution for eliminating bacteria that cause bad breath and gingivitis.

Patchouli oil can be used in combination with peppermint oil to make an oral rinse for deodorizing the mouth and preventing bacterial infestations.

Ways to use

  • Mix a few drops of patchouli oil in a carrier oil and swish it around your mouth.
  • You can also add a drop to your toothpaste before brushing your teeth.

12. Natural deodorant

Patchouli oil antibacterial properties and sweat reducing capabilities which help to get rid of body odor. This oil has a robust and distinctive aroma, which can mask unpleasant odors. Patchouli oil also helps to kill germs and fungus, so it makes an excellent home deodorizer as well.

Ways to use

  • Add a few drops of patchouli oil to your body lotion.
  • You can also run one or two drops on your armpits.

13. Repels insects

Patchouli oil is an excellent bug repellent. Add some drops of this essential oil can keep mosquitoes, ants, fleas, lice, moths and bed bugs away. It is an effective solution for keeping ants away from the house (5).

Ways to use

  • Burn a few drops of this oil in an oil burner.
  • Add it to sprays, lotions, and vaporizers.

Side effects of patchouli oil

Patchouli essential oil is considered safe when it is used in reasonable amounts. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under the age of six should avoid using it as not we do not know enough about the safety of this oil for them.

The sedative properties of this oil can lower energy levels and cause loss of appetite, so people recovering from illnesses and eating disorders should not use patchouli oil.

Dilute patchouli oil before using it topically to avoid skin irritations. You must avoid going out in the sun as this oil may sensitize the skin to sun rays. Never use patchouli oil near the eyes, nose, ears and other sensitive areas of the skin.

Final thoughts

Patchouli oil is extracted by steam distillation of the leaves of the patchouli plant. This essential oil is pale yellow or green, and it has a strong, spicy, woody and musky aroma.

It improves health by reducing depression, lowering inflammation, preventing infections, fighting fever and improving skin and hair.