An essential oriental oil with a multi-purpose use not known to all: we tell you about all benefits of Patchouli essential oil and our tips to use it.


Patchouli, or Pogostenom Patchouli fol., Scientific name Pogostemon cablin (Blanco) Bentham, is a perennial plant of the Lamiaceae family that has morphological characteristics very similar to those of mint. It is native to the tropical regions of Asia and cultivated extensively in India and Malaysia, but also in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Mauritius, Philippines, West Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Maldives, Madagascar, Taiwan, South America and the Caribbean .

Patchouli is a plant with a bushy appearance and its stem, characterized by a purple color and a fine down, can reach a maximum height of 1 meter. The Patchouli leaves are oval and very wide, they are soft and velvety to the touch and light green in color. They also give off an intense and characteristic fragrance. The flowers are gathered in small groups, they are small in size, with a lilac-white color and a peculiar bilabiata structure.

In India the leaves are placed in small bags to perfume cabinets and as a repellent for insects in clothes, and in natural medicine they are used for nervous disorders. The Malaysians also use dry leaves to protect their clothes from insects, and they also use the leaves infused in measles oil. In Chinese medicine the leaves are used, usually in decoction, for colds, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

Patchouli essential oil: what it is

Given the origins of Patchouli, an oriental plant, the essential oil can only boast the East as its largest production volume: Indonesia, the Philippines, Sumatra, Seychelles, islands of Madagascar, Brazil, Africa and China. The Patchouli essential oil is extracted from leaves of Pogostemon for hydrodistillation and steam distillation. Patchouli leaves are usually fermented partially before distillation. A clarification by Valussi (1): “The Patchouli essential oil (from Pogostemon cablin) is noteworthy because it is formed in internal glandular trichomes that are projected inside the intercellular spaces and the essence accumulates under the cuticle of the tricoma “.

Patchouli oil is thick and becomes increasingly thick and sticky with age, going from a dark orange to brown.

Benefits of Patchouli essential oil and uses

The perfume of Patchouli evokes the shelter of the deep and damp woods, arousing in those who inhale it, the feeling of intimacy with itself. Here are some uses and benefits of Patchouli essential oil according to literature:

  • has a toning and stimulating action useful in case of depression and mental numbness, while it is calming and relaxing in case of anxiety and stress. To calm anxious states, place 12 drops of Patchouli essential oil in 200 ml of water. With a cloth, make compresses to the forehead and temples. Also wet your wrists and lie down in the dark, changing the wraps from time to time. Also place a few drops of this essence in the special burner by placing it in the chamber where you lie down.
  • in psycho-aromatherapy it is indicated to young people who feel the physical arrogance of hormonal impetus internally and at the same time great idealistic aspirations, two common attributes of the adolescent and pre-adult phase. The Patchouli allows to harmonize them harmoniously.
  • Patchouli is not only for youth: it has beneficial antidepressant effects even on adults who, due to their social and professional life, must control their physical impulses, and suffer psycho-physical exhaustion stress, anxiety or disorders sexual. It can be said to be also an aphrodisiac: in his book “health and well-being, the trilogy” C. Valnet (2) tells us that Patchouli “induces the pituitary gland to produce endorphin (euphorizing) useful to those who cannot let go (frigidity) or has a decrease in libido: increases concentration and energy “.
  • anti-inflammatory: Patchouli has a certain reputation in the treatment of skin problems such as acne or inflammation, seborrheic eczema.
  • tonic, stimulating, phlebotonic (3), lipolytic: excellent in the massage for the treatment of imperfections caused by venous insufficiency of the legs and varicose legs; it is also used against water retention, cellulite and stress-induced headaches (2), due to its astringent properties on the circulatory theme. Put 30 drops of Patchouli essential oil in 200 ml of sweet almond oil. Allow this mixture to absorb with a light massage on the parts that show cellulite and water retention.
  • for its pleasant scent and for relaxing and helping concentration:
  • as an environmental fragrance: it produces a very pleasant aroma and can be useful for relaxing and helping concentration. It is therefore an excellent addition to pout pourri and is an environmental deodorant that lasts very long;
  • in the bath: since it can leave the skin and the surfaces of the bath rather sticky, it is advisable to disperse well in liquid soap or bubble bath (approximately 6 drops for a spoonful of detergent), disperse well, then mix with a spoon of water and only then pour the mixture into the bath water.
  • as deodorant for feet and armpits (Decazes, 1993): as Dr. J. Valnet says (J.Valnet 1980, p.44), “unpleasant odors are sometimes the result of a pathological process and oils with a sweet aroma they have the power to prevent them, acting on the bacteria that are the cause of them. These oils are not limited to masking odors, but they neutralize them with a physical-chemical action “.
  • in perfumeryPatchouli is the keystone of chypre fragrances and is used a lot in woody themes for men’s fragrances. However, it is also used a lot for the sensual woody notes in oriental fragrances. Patchouli essential oil acts as a fixative and mixes well with other materials, including bergamot, lavender, etc.

Patchouli essential oil for topical use can be used pure or diluted in vegetable oil for massages. The doses:

  • for rooms: 10 drops in a lamp for aromas and vaporizers, to flavor a room;
  • for cosmetics: 15-20 drops in 50 ml of vegetable oil, cream, shampoo and neutral body wash;
  • average permitted dose in perfumes: 2.0%. A part of essential oil is soluble in a part of 90% alcohol.

Patchouli essential oil: adulterations

Patchouli essential oil is often adulterated with Gurjun balm (revealed by the presence of α-gurjunene), essential oil of cedar and its derivatives, sesquiterpenes of clove essential oil, methyl abietate, hydroabietic alcohol, Vetiver residues and camphor, essential oil of Copaiba balm, castor oil and isobornyl acetate.

You can find Our Patchouli essential oil here.

Dr. Laura Comollo

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  • (1) Il grande manuale di Aromaterapia, M. Valussi
  • (2) Salute e benessere, la trilogia, di Christian Valnet e Susan Daniel
  • (3) Trattato di aromaterapia, S. Price, pp.346
  • (4) Aromaterapia, J. Valnet, p.44

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