Patchouli essential oil is distilled from the fresh or dried leaves and flowers of several species of Pogostemon – a genus of tropical herbs known for their aromatic leaves, belonging to the family of mints. Originally from Southeast Asia, Patchouli’s common name simply means ‘green leaves’ in the native language (Tamil), possibly due to the leaves’ traditional use as a vegetable in that region. This herb is now cultivated in many tropical areas solely for the production of essential oil.
Patchouli essential oil is unique in that it improves with age. The oil has been a staple in the perfume industry for a very long time and has a history of being used as a natural insect repellent. The distinctly musky and earthy scent was very popular with the hippie culture of the ‘60s. It is now becoming increasingly sought after for its wide-ranging therapeutic uses as well.
The oil is astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant and mildly sedative. It has been found to be effective in relieving anxiety and depression, and it produces a positive mental state. It can treat a number of skin problems, including wounds and infections. It has fungicidal and insecticidal properties too.
Patchouli oil has commercial importance apart from its use in the perfume industry. The oil is used as a flavoring agent in food processing and as an active ingredient in many disinfectants, insecticides, and insect repellents. The constituents of Patchouli oil such as alpha and beta patchoulene, guaiene, caryophyllene, patchouli alcohol, norpatchoulenol, and pogostol are responsible for its wide-ranging use.
Here’s a look at the reasons why every home, including yours, should really have a bottle of patchouli oil – just make sure it is 100% pure, free of additives and adulterants. Our favorite supplier of essential oils is Plant Therapy and you can purchase their essential oils, including patchouli oil, from this page on their official website.
1. Patchouli Oil is a Mood Enhancer & Antidepressant
The earthy, woodsy green smell of Patchouli oil can uplift your mood, driving away anxiety, thoughts of despair, traumatic memories and mental fatigue. The oil is an effective antidepressant and is widely used in aromatherapy to help people get over a sense of loss and despair. The oil precipitates a mild sedation, which is often helpful in taking the edge off acute pain and sorrow.
Diffusing the oil is sufficient to reap the mood-enhancing effects because when the fumes are inhaled, the volatile agents get directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucus membranes. They may stimulate the production of neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine associated with positive feelings. Place 4-5 drops Patchouli oil in a diffuser or use 2 drops each of Patchouli and Lemon oils.
Recommended Reading: 10 Reasons Every Home Should Have An Essential Oil Diffuser
2. Patchouli Essential Oil Works as an Antiseptic
The essential oil of Patchouli is skin-friendly, protecting it from infections. Mix 5-10 drops in water to make a natural antiseptic solution to wash cuts and wounds. It not only prevents infections but accelerates the healing process, thanks to its capacity to help regenerate skin cells. It is especially good for treating acne and chicken pox since it prevents scarring.
Mix 2-3 drops of Patchouli oil in a spoonful of coconut oil to make a quick salve for burns and boils. Apply a small amount of the essential oil on cuts and scrapes to protect it from potential infections. Dip a cotton bud in the oil and touch the site of insect bites.
3. Patchouli Oil Can Be Used to Treat Fungal Infections
The anti-fungal property of this essential oil makes it effective against a number of common fungal infections. You can add 2-3 drops of Patchouli oil to a teaspoonful of olive oil to make an anti-fungal nail paint. Dip a cotton ear bud in the mixture and apply 2-3 times a day to get rid of nail fungus.
Similarly, a foot bath with 5-10 drops of Patchouli oil and a handful of sea salt added to warm water can get rid of Athlete’s foot. Place cotton balls dipped in Patchouli oil inside shoes. Also, rinse the socks in water spiked with the essential oil. The same organism that causes this disease may spread to underarms, groin and other areas where sweat accumulates. Apply the essential oil diluted with equal amount of olive oil and allow it to remain for thirty minutes before bathing. This anti-fungal formula can be used on ringworm patches too.
4. Patchouli Oil Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Patchouli oil’s anti-inflammatory properties are useful in wound healing, resolving allergic reactions, and relieving the swelling and itching associated with skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. But the anti-inflammatory effect is not restricted to the skin. It can bring down specific and general inflammation within the body too, as in the case of arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Chronic inflammation is now considered a major health risk since it increases the risk of hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. That’s why diffusing anti-inflammatory essential oils like Patchouli can contribute to general health.
5. Patchouli Oil Fights Bad Breath and Body Odor
Patchouli oil has a strong, distinctive smell that some people find spiritually uplifting, while others find it overpowering or even downright repulsive. This essential oil is widely used in the perfume industry not only for its musky-sweet fragrance but because it adapts well to various combinations, especially with essential oils of cedarwood and geranium. You can make your own signature fragrances by trial and error.
Mix a few drops of Patchouli oil in the bath with water or use it in spritz bottles as an after-bath body spray mixed with a carrier oil. The secret is using the oil sparingly so that the smell doesn’t become nauseating. Mix it in warm water and use as a mouth gargle to ward off bad breath.
6. Patchouli Oil Can Be Used to Treat Cold and Fever
An herbal tea with Patchouli leaves is a traditional remedy for common cold and fever. However, diffusing the oil may be just as effective as ingesting Patchouli in tea form, especially in the case of upper respiratory infections. Its anti-inflammatory effect also contributes to healing. Since infections and inflammations are common causes of fever, striking at the root is obviously the right way to tackle it.
(Patchouli essential oil should never be used internally without the supervision of a healthcare professional as this essential oil is known to have toxic effects in some cases.)
7. Patchouli Oil Helps Prevent Signs of Premature Aging
We have seen how Patchouli oil can prevent skin infections and rapidly heal injuries without leaving scars. It can also keep the skin smooth and supple by resisting the formation of fine wrinkles. Mix a few drops of Patchouli oil in your regular massage oil or carrier oils such as jojoba oil to prevent wrinkles and protect against the effects of aging.
It is excellent for hair care too. Rub 5-6 drops of Patchouli oil mixed with coconut oil into the scalp before washing the hair. This helps control premature hair fall and dandruff.
Recommended Reading: 17 Anti-Aging Oils For Beautiful Skin + Recipes!
8. Patchouli Oil Can Prevent Kidney and Gallbladder Stones
The diuretic effect of Patchouli increases urine production. Combined with sufficient intake of water, it can protect you from kidney stones and gallbladder stones that develop due to the accumulation of salts. Increased urine production helps dissolve unwanted salts, including bile salts and uric acid crystals. The latter tend to accumulate in the joints, causing a painful condition called gout. Frequent and copious urination helps flush out these salts and other toxins from the body.
9. Patchouli Essential Oil Promotes Dental Health
The antimicrobial action of Patchouli oil can bring down the bacterial populations responsible for bad breath and gum disease. The anti-inflammatory effect also has a role to play because inflamed gums tend to get detached from the teeth, compromising their stability. It also gives pathogens access to the roots of teeth as well the jawbones. This can eventually erode the bones, leading to premature loss of teeth.
The astringent quality of Patchouli oil can reduce inflammation, drawing out the fluids from the swollen tissue and tightening it over the jaw and around the teeth. Gargling with the oil is one way to promote dental health, but you can also use it as gum paint, massaging it in for good measure.
10. Patchouli Oil May Help With Sexual Dysfunction
Patchouli has an aphrodisiac effect which, combined with its stress busting and mood enhancing properties, may help mitigate frigidity, erectile dysfunction, and impotency that often stem from anxiety and other psychological problems.
The essential oil is known to have hormone regulating properties too. It probably stimulates the production of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone since the libido-enhancing effect applies to both men and women. Diffusing the oil in the bedroom may be just the right thing to add a spark to relationships.
11. Patchouli Essential Oil Is a Potent Insect Repellent
This is one of the oldest and original uses of patchouli. Dried leaves were used by the Chinese to protect their precious silks from moth attack. Patchouli oil is a common ingredient in many commercial bug-repellent sprays, incense sticks, and skin lotions. It has been found to be effective against ants, fleas, lice, bed bugs, flies, and mosquitoes.
When you travel or camp out, you can weave an envelope of protection around you with a few drops of Patchouli oil applied to the bedposts, bed linen and to your feet and wrists. This will keep off bedbugs, mosquitoes and other flying and biting insects. When you have outdoor parties in summer, use a few drops in several strategically placed diffusers. If the musky smell of Patchouli is not exactly to your liking, add a few drops of lemon, orange or geranium oil.
You might even want to make your own insect repellent spray, which makes it much easier to use when you want to take a walk through the woods or participate in other outdoor activities when the bugs are out. It’s easy to do and it doesn’t smell awful or come with the harmful effects of a DEET spray. Just combine the following into a spray bottle and you’ll have your own sweet-smelling insect repellent:
- 10 drops patchouli essential oil
- 10 drops grapefruit essential oil
- 6 drops lavender essential oil
- 6 drops clove essential oil
- 4 ounces carrier oil like almond oil or sunflower oil
12. Treating scalp issues
Patchouli oil has been called a “triple threat” for scalp problems, thanks to its astringent, antiseptic and fungicide properties. All three are outstanding for treating scalp conditions such as dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis. If you’ve been scratching your head a lot, literally not figuratively, it can also speed the healing of those small wounds to prevent infection while soothing inflammation. It also inhibits fungal growth to address issues like tinea and ringworm.
Patchouli oil can even treat or prevent hair loss, because of its rich amount of anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, that make it beneficial for treating scalp infections that can lead to hair loss.
One of the best ways to utilize it to take care of scalp problems is to make a scalp scrub. Combine 2 drops of patchouli essential oil with a teaspoon of baking soda and about a nickel to a quarter size of sulfate-free shampoo, depending on the length of your hair. Mix it well and then apply it to your scalp by massaging it in gently, using a circular motion.
If you have dandruff, mix patchouli oil with a carrier oil like olive, coconut or almond oil, and gently massage it into the scalp. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.
Patchouli oil is commonly utilized in practices like anti-cellulite massage and battling water retention. Just rub it (when combined with a carrier oil) gently into your skin where you suffer from cellulite.
Precautions For Using Patchouli Essential Oil
The essential oil of Patchouli is generally recognized as safe for topical application (with carrier oil) and for use in diffusers. Overuse should be avoided, however, as it can precipitate strong sedation, lethargy, and appetite loss.
As with most essential oils, use of Patchouli oil is not recommended for use by pregnant or nursing women.
If you are on prescription drugs, check with your physician for possible drug interactions before using Patchouli essential oil.