The health benefits of Patchouli Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties like anti depressant, antiphlogistic, anti septic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, deodorant, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicide, insecticide, sedative and tonic.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Chinese traders used dried patchouli leaves as a packaging material around their silk. This was to prevent moths from laying their eggs there, as moths do not tolerate the smell. Because of this use, it may be why Europeans of that time associated it as a scent of luxury, and patchouli became a scent associated with a high class, opulent life.
In modern times, patchouli gained a bit of a reputation for itself during the 1960s and 1970s. That was when it became very popular with those who favored free love and the hippie lifestyles. This may be partly due to the fact that the scent of patchouli has been known to cover the smell of burning marijuana, and so could be used as a masking scent for those that indulged in the illegal drug. The god Krishna is said to inhabit patchouli, so the Hare Krishna movement may be partially responsible as well.
Regardless of its colorful and alternative lifestyle, patchouli also has a more reserved side as well. It is used widely in the perfume industry, and can be found in about a third of high end fragrances, including over half of those used by men. It is also an important part of incense from East Asia.
It has been used to scent paper towels, laundry detergents, and used in air fresheners as well. The process of distilling the essential oil from the dried leaves of the plant produces a high yield, so it is also relatively inexpensive to produce when compared to other essential oils.
The plant and oil have many claimed benefits in herbal folklore and magic, with the scent in general found to be relaxing. It is often used in rituals that involve love, lust, and passion, as well as those for spell breaking, fertility, money and protection. Users can choose to carry the herb in sachets or pouches or use the essential oils in spells.
The Patchouli Plant
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is a member of the mint family. It is a large (3 feet) perennial mint which grows in tropical climates. The plant originated in Southeast Asia, and is extensively cultivated in various Indonesian Islands, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, and South America. Patchouli is also known as patchouly, tamala pattra in Sanskrit and guang huo xiang in chinese.
The essential oil of patchouli is extracted by steam distillation of the leaves. The leaves need to be shade dried and partially fermented before distilling. Fresh patchouli essential oil has a sharp, green fragrance, and needs to age to develop the deeper, earthier aroma of a good patchouli oil. Patchouli essential oil should always be aged and will continue to improve the longer it sits. The color of the oil will deepen from a light yellowish, pale red to a deep, dark amber upon aging, and the oil will become more and more viscous. Please click here for more information or to purchase Patchouli Essential Oil and Organic Patchouli Oil.
Patchouli oil can also be produced through the CO2 extraction method. This is a new technique for extracting essential oils (and other constituents) from plant materials. It does not use water or steam. Instead CO2 (carbon dioxide) is used as a solvent. The CO2 is used under high pressure in which it expresses a likeness to both a gas and a liquid (called a supercritical state). These qualities allow the aromatic constituents of patchouli to be extracted without heat. The CO2 is then removed from the resulting extract which is then refined and filtered. The oil produced from this method has a different odor profile than the oil obtained by steam distillation. CO2 extracts are still relatively rare due to the large cost in setting up the equipment. Patchouli CO2 extract is rarely seen, but if you can locate some, it is worth exploring.
Patchouli oil is also rarely available as a resinoid and as a solvent extracted absolute.
Its medicinal properties include:
Anti Depressant: This oil works great on people suffering from depression. It helps them to get over from the feeling and fills them with new hopes. That is why it is very much in use in aromatherapy. It uplifts mood, drives away disappointment and relaxes tension.
Anti Phlogistic: It soothes inflammation, particularly those resulting from fever and gives relief.
Anti Septic: Protects the wounds and ulcers from infections and from being septic.
Aphrodisiac: Patchouli Oil is also good for treating sexual problems such as impotency, loss of libido and interest in sex, erectile problems, frigidity etc. and acts as an aphrodisiac.
Astringent: It induces contractions in muscles, nerves and skin. This helps strengthening hold of gums on teeth, preventing shagging of skin, hair fall and loosening of muscles. This astringency of Patchouli Oil also helps stop haemorrhage by contracting the blood vessels.
Cicatrisant: It helps heal cuts and wounds and also speed up the fading of their scars. This is equally effective in vanishing marks left by boils, acne, pox, measles etc.
Cytophylactic: This property of the Essential Oil of Patchouli promotes growth by helping generation of new body cells. This helps in production of red blood cells too. It was seen mainly helpful in regeneration of new skin cells, thus keeping the skin healthy, young and vibrant.
Deodorant: The strong sweet, spicy and musky aroma of this essential oil keeps away body odor. But it should be used in dilution as sometimes the aroma of Patchouli Oil might feel too strong to bear.
Diuretic: It increases the tendency of urinating as well as the frequency of urination and quantity of urine. This helps loose weight, lower blood pressure, increase appetite, lower cholesterol and removal of toxins from the body.
Febrifuge: Reduces body temperature in case of fever by fighting the infections causing the fever. Being an Anti Phlogistic, it gives relief from the inflammations caused by fever and this way too helps bringing down the fever, since fever can be reduced to some extent if the pain and inflammation associated with fever are taken care of.
Fungicide: Patchouli Essential Oil has been found quite effective in inhibiting fungal growths and infections, thereby providing protection from some of the notorious infections like athlete’s foot.
Insecticide: As said earlier, the insecticidal property of Patchouli Oil was recognized long ago. Despite smelling sweet, it is very effective in keeping insects away. It may be used in sprays, body lotions, fumigants, vaporizers, incense sticks or can be mixed with water to wash clothes and bed linen to drive away mosquitoes, ants, beg bugs, lice, fleas, flies and moths.
Sedative: It calms down inflammations and sedates convulsions, coughs and epileptic attacks resulting from hype sensitivity or hyper reactivity of nerves. It can also stop eruption of allergies by sedating the hyper sensitivity of body towards certain elements.
Tonic: This property of Patchouli Oil tones up the whole body. It makes right the metabolic functions like decomposition of food and absorption of nutrients by toning up the liver, stomach and intestines, helping you grow stronger and healthier; 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, and finally, boosts the immune system, protecting you from infections.
Other Benefits: Helps treat eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and sores. Gives relief from constipation. Can be used as an antidote against insect bites temporarily.
Few Words of Caution: The long lasting aroma of Patchouli Essential Oil, though sweet, may not be welcome for a few.
Blending: Patchouli Essential Oil blends well with essential oils of Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender and Myrrh.
Great post! I love the stuff. I get called a hippie when I wear it but I am kind of a hippie, so it's ok, LoL
BTW- if it's helpful to anyone, I have a page at the TCM group of herbal properties, just in case anyone needs a reference...the link is here.
Nothing wrong with hippies :) I have a ton of herbal info but your group looks great so I am joining!
Thanks SunKat, please feel free to contribute your insight, it would be an homor to benefit from your wisdom.
Thank you SunKat! I have heard of this but now I understand!
Great link Santaosha!!
Good night dear ladies!