Patchouli Oil – Uses, Benefits & more


What is Patchouli Oil?

Patchouli oil is a plant-based essential oil derived from the plant Pogostemon cablin commonly known as patchouli. It is a plant that is native to Asia and is cultivated extensively in India, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Taiwan, Thailand, South America and the Caribbean. Patchouli oil has a strong aroma and has been traditionally used in perfumes but has found more recent use as an incense, insect repellent and general wellbeing.

How Does Patchouli Oil Help?

Patchouli oil is composed of Patchoulol, α-Bulnesene, α-Guaiene and Caryophyllene amongst other ingredients. These compounds give patchouli oil its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antidepressant, antioxidant, odorous and analgesic properties rendering it extremely useful for both cosmetic as well as medicinal purposes.

Topical use of patchouli oil after diluting it with a carrier oil can help you get rid of body odours, help in bringing down inflammation, moisturizing skin, promote wound healing, etc. It can also help fight infections due to its antibacterial properties. It has astringent properties which help prevent early onset of hair loss and skin sagging when applied topically.

Patchouli oil can also be used as an insect repellent since its strong fragrance can drive away insects. Due to its strong fragrance, it’s also used in aromatherapy to relieve stress, fight depression and induce sleep.

Patchouli Essential Oil Benefits

Patchouli essential oil uses go beyond cosmetics. It offers a slew of positive medicinal effects in addition to cosmetic benefits for the skin and hair. Some of these include –

1. Depression Reliever


Patchouli essential oil is used in aromatherapy because it has antidepressant properties. Patchouli oil stimulates the release of serotonin and dopamine due to its relaxing aroma, this helps in relieving depression.

Just put 5 drops of patchouli oil either directly or with a carrier oil in an essential oil diffuser to experience the relaxing aroma of patchouli oil.

2. Healing Property

Patchouli essential oil uses extend beyond cosmetics, in fact, it’s known to have healing properties which can be used to reduce scars and marks on your skin.

Apply 2-3 drops of diluted patchouli essential oil to the problem areas to accelerate healing and getting rid of unwanted marks.

3. Improve Digestive System


Patchouli essential oil has a toning effect on your liver, stomach and intestines. This results in improving the overall health of your digestive system.

Using patchouli oil with an essential oil diffuser is said to improve your digestive health.

4. Reduce Inflammation


Patchouli oil can help deal with conditions involving inflammation because it has anti-inflammatory properties. It can also be used to ease inflammation caused by common skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. Patchouli oil can also help with conditions such as arthritis and gout.

Take five drops of diluted patchouli oil and rub them in your palms and use it to massage your problem areas this can include your hands, feet, lower back, joints, stomach or any other area being affected by inflammation.

5. Prevents Infection


Patchouli essential oil has antiseptic properties so it can be used on small wounds and cuts to prevent them from being septic. It can also combat external fungal infections like athlete’s foot.

Just rub 2-3 drops of patchouli oil on the affected area to prevent the wound from being infected.

6. Improve Libido

Patchouli oil in addition to its stress-busting and mood-relaxing properties can be used as an aphrodisiac as well. It stimulates the production of sex hormones testosterone and estrogen which leads to an increase in libido for both men and women.

Diffusing a few drops of patchouli essential oil using an essential oil diffuser can help improve sexual mood and health.

7. Strengthens Hair

Strengthens Hair

Patchouli oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can be used to get rid of a dry and flaky scalp, condition the hair follicles, and strengthen the hair.

Use your hands to massage 5 drops of diluted patchouli oil directly into your scalp or alternatively add it to your hair conditioner to see results.

8. Bug Repellent

Patchouli has been traditionally used to ward-off bugs and insects. In fact, the Chinese used dried patchouli leaves to protect their silk from moths. Patchouli essential oil has been found to be a potent insect repellent against a variety of different insects including mosquitoes, ants, termites, bed bugs, flies, etc.

To protect yourself from insects at home or while traveling just add a few drops of patchouli essential oil to the corners of your bed, near your window and rub a few drops of diluted patchouli oil onto your feet and wrists before sleeping. Alternatively, it can be diffused in the air using an essential oil diffuser to repel insects.

9. Eliminate Bad Odour

Bad Odor

Patchouli oil has been used for its aroma in many different ways. Its fresh aroma can be used to mask body odor as well as odour at the house.

Use patchouli oil for fragrance purposes by adding a few drops of patchouli oil to an essential oil diffuser to get rid of bad odors from body as well as in your house. Also, it can act as a natural body deodorant just by applying 1-2 drops of diluted oil under your armpits.

How is Patchouli Essential Oil Extracted?

Patchouli essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant Pogostemon cablin by steam distillation. It’s a thick oil ranges from light yellow to deep amber or brown in colour. It has a sweet fragrance which can be described as musky and earthy similar to the smell of wet soil. Patchouli oil is said to improve with age.

The oils made from the uppermost pair of leaves are said to have the strongest aroma. It is also believed that the steam distillation of fresh leaves yields the highest quality oil in contrast to dried leaves. There are two types of patchouli essential oils light and dark depending on the containers in which they are distilled. If the oil is distilled into a stainless steel vat, it’s light patchouli oil which is less viscous and has a light amber colour. If it’s distilled in a cast iron vat, the oil is dark patchouli oil which thick and deep brown in colour.

Homemade Patchouli Oil


It’s easy to make your own patchouli oil infusion at home using dried patchouli leaves. The ingredients needed to make it are –

1. Ingredients

  • Dried patchouli leaves
  • Jojoba, olive or sweet almond oil
  • Glass Jar
  • Cheesecloth
  • Saucepan

2. How to Prepare

  1. Sun-dry the patchouli leaves for a few hours. Ensure that they are completely dry.
  2. Take a clean, dry glass jar and put the leaves in the jar. Pour a carrier oil of your choice – Jojoba, sweet almond or olive oil.
  3. Cover the glass jar with a lid and shake the jar.
  4. Boil water in a clean saucepan.
  5. Turn the heat off and put the jar in the saucepan with the hot water till it cools down.
  6. Take out the jar and shake well.
  7. Store the jar in a cool, dry and dark place for one month. The patchouli oil will get infused into the carrier oil. To ensure this shake the jar from time to time.
  8. Filter out the infusion with a cheesecloth into a clean glass jar/bottle.

Is Patchouli Oil Safe to Use topically?

Patchouli oil is generally considered safe to use topically. It should be noted, however, that Patchouli oil is highly concentrated and should not be used directly. Instead, it should be well diluted with a compatible carrier oil. Also, some people might be allergic to patchouli essential oil, so it’s a good idea to do a skin patch test before using it.

Side Effects of Patchouli Oil

Patchouli oil is generally considered safe for topical application on the skin and hair and also for inhalation. However, overuse of patchouli essential oil should be avoided since it can cause sedation, lethargy and appetite loss. Perform a skin patch test before using it for the first time on the skin to check for the symptoms of allergies.

Kids, pregnant or nursing women and people under medical care should always take the advice of a doctor before using any essential oil, including patchouli oil. Always consult your physician before using it to treat a condition and also to check for possible drug interactions with already prescribed drugs.

Also read: Benefits and Uses of Jojoba Oil for Hair and Skin


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