Patchouli essential oil has a fascinating history that reaches back to ancient times. During the 1800s when the trade of exquisite eastern fabrics, like silks, were making their way into the European market, these delicate textiles were packed with patchouli leaves to ward off insects from destroying the materials. And when the fabrics finally arrived at their destination, and the trunks were opened, the patchouli smell would waft out - and that’s how it was determined that the silks were authentic!
Patchouli’s botanical name is Pogostemon cablin and the plant is a botanical relative of lavender, mint, thyme, oregano and sage. It thrives in hot humid climates and can grow on flat or sloped lands. The essential oil is extracted from the leaves, and the best time to harvest the leaves is when the plant hits its 6 month maturity. The leaves are often harvested by hand and then partially dried and fermented before extracting. The plant has small light pink fragrant flowers and usually blooms in the Autumn.
Method of Extraction
Patchouli essential oil is steam distilled from the partially dried and fermented leaves. It’s believed that the top groups of leaves produce the highest quality oil, and when the oil emerges from the still, it can range in color from light yellow to deep amber or brown. There are two types of patchouli oil found in the market, “light” and “dark.” The difference between them is determined by the type of container in which they are distilled. When the oil is distilled in stainless steel it is usually light in color and not very thick, and when it is distilled in cast iron the oil can be thick and deep brown.
Traditional Uses of Patchouli Essential Oil
According to Asian folk medicine, Patchouli was traditionally used to treat hair conditions like dandruff, oily hair and scalp and a wide range of skin conditions from dryness to acne. It was also believed that Pharoh Tutankhamun also known as King Tut, was buried with several gallons of Patchouli inside his tomb. It’s benefits for skin and hair, and as an insect repellant have been widely documented through history.
Benefits of Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli benefits are many, and range from medicinal applications, to skin care and perfumery.
Skin, Hair, and Body Care Support
When used topically in skin, hair and body care products, Patchoulis offers the following benefits:
● Promoting skin vibrancy and glow
● Supports the skin’s innate ability to regenerate and tone the skin, making the skin look
and feel younger.
● Encourages the skin to re-balance when combating acne and blemishes.
● Fortifies the skin against infection
● Soothes irritation and dryness, for skin, scalp and hair
● Strengthens hair and can increase shine\
Patchouli’s earthy and musky scent offers many benefits to improve our mood balance our emotions and trigger our relaxation response:
● Helps us feel more grounded and centered when we feel distracted
● Promotes sensuality
● Offers the experience of calming and peacefulness
● Supports deeper sleep, and quiets an overactive mind
How to use Patchouli Essential Oil
Here are some patchouli oil uses. Like all pure essential oils, we recommend always diluting Patchouli essential oil into a carrier oil or an already formulated base product, like a cream, lotion or gel. We suggest using 3 drops of Patchouli oil per 1 TBSP of carrier or base product to experience the best benefits.
For the Skin
● Add 6 drops to 1 ounce of your favorite face cleanser to help reduce oily shine, and reduce the frequency of acne breakouts.
● Add 5 drops to 1 TBSP of Aloe Vera Gel and use it as a spot treatment directly on blemish.
● Add 8 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil of your choice and massage on neck and shoulders to relieve stress caused by nervous tension.
For the Hair
● Add 3 drops to 1 TBSP of Jojoba Oil and massage into the scalp before shampooing to cleanse the scalp and encourage the appearance of healthy hair.
● Add 3 drops to leave in conditioner to add shine and condition dry hair
● Add 4 drops to 1 TBSP of shampoo to notify scalp for a deeper cleanse
For Improving Your Environment
● Add 10 drops to 1 ounce of water in a spray bottle and sprtiz area to deter flies and mosquitoes from biting.
● Add 4 drops to your diffuser to encourage a peaceful and quieting mood.
● Add 4 drops to your diffuser in combination with 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil to fortify your resiliency and deodorize your space.
How to Safely Use Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli essential oil is generally regarded as safe, and can be a really beneficial oil to help improve our overall well being if used correctly. That means you should never ingest it, and always dilute it down into a carrier before applying to the skin. Pregnant women should avoid using Patchouli oil during the first 2 trimesters, but it could be a nice soothing oil to use in a full body massage as the mother gets closer to delivery. Always use very minimal amount, like 1 drop per 2 TBSP on children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Closing ThoughtsRegardless of how you use Patchouli essential oil, it's aromatherapuetic benefits can make a positive impact on both your mind-body well being. It helps us feel calmer and more relaxed, and also has been shown to be effective when we need a little extra help to stay healthy and feel protected.
Please share your favorite ways to use Patchouli Essential Oil!