Pogostemon patchouli

Patchouli is also known as patchouly and belongs to the genus Pogostemon. This species is a bush-like herb from the mint family having straight or upright stems that grow up to a height of around two to three feet. Patchouli plant produces tiny pinkish-white blossoms and is indigenous to numerous places in Asia. The herb is grown extensively in the tropical areas of the continent, including India, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Mauritius, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam for the aromatic essential oil enclosed by it. It is also found growing in some regions of West Africa. This aromatic herb has derived its name from the Tamil words 'patchai' denoting green and 'ellai' meaning leaf.

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This aromatic herb thrives well in warm to tropical climatic regions. Patchouli has a preference for hot weather, but does not like direct sunlight. In case the plant dries up owing to scarcity of water or lack of watering, it has the aptitude to recover quickly once it has been watered again. Patchouli plants bear flowers that are very aromatic and bloom during late fall. The highly aromatic leaves of this herb are steam distilled to obtain the essential oil. Patchouli essential oil is known to stir up a strong reaction on any individual who smells this natural oil, which appears pleasant to some, while others hate its fragrance. While this herb is known to have its origin in India and Malaysia, it is now extensively cultivated in several tropical climatic regions of the world, including Indonesia, the West Indies, China and Paraguay for the aromatic essential oil yielded by the plants.

The essential oil obtained by steam distilling the leaves of this herb has an overpowering, basic aroma that is enduring and believed by many to act as an aphrodisiac. This oil may be used as massage oil or blended with other suitable natural oils for skin care. In fact, a very small amount of this oil is sufficient for both these purposes as well as creating a charming essence. This natural oil is said to possess a number of therapeutic properties. It is known to be antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant. When used in small measures, patchouli essential oil works as a sedative, but its actions reverse when used in high doses. When used in high measures, this oil works as a stimulant.

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Patchouli essential oil is known to be highly beneficial for the skin. This natural oil facilitates rejuvenation of the skin cells and is particularly helpful for treating mature or aged skin, cracked skin, dandruff, acne, eczema and several other skin disorders. This oil is frequently used as a blend with other essential oils, including frankincense essential oil and sandalwood essential oil with a view to facilitate in meditation as well as self-introspection. The concentrate of patchouli essential oil is extensively used by the perfume manufactures as an additive while manufacturing perfumes. This oil is especially useful for people suffering from nervous anxiety and depression as it helps to lift the spirits and bring in positive thoughts. It is genuine nurturing oil in this respect.

Patchouli essential oil is said to be profound and, at the same time, tenuous. The aroma of this natural oil stays behind long after the scents of other essential oils have died away. Since patchouli essential oil has an excellent base note, perfume manufacturers use this oil as a fixative. Even when perfumes containing this oil are used in moderation, its aroma lingers for a long period. As far as overuse of this oil is concerned, patchouli essential oil is considered to be the most misused essential oil. Although only a petite amount of this essential oil is required to create enduring, charismatic, personal essence, massage oil or skin care blend, people often tend to apply this oil quite liberally resulting to its gross abuse.

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The original aroma of the essential oil obtained by steam distilling the scented leaves of patchouli plant makes it an important element in many well-accepted and preferred personal perfumes. In the perfume industry, patchouli essential oil is generally used as a fixative with a view to inhibit the rate of evaporation of other volatile or unsteady oil present in the perfumes. Therefore, using this essential oil as a fixative helps to maintain the aroma or scent of the perfumes for an elongated period. As mentioned earlier, the fragrance of perfumes containing patchouli essential oil generally lingers for longer period compared to other perfumes containing other aromatic essential oils.

In addition to its extensive use in the perfumery industry, patchouli essential oil is also effective for the skin and hair and, therefore, it forms an important ingredient in a number of skin care and hair care products available in the market. Mixing only a few drops of this essential oil with the face cream you use and applying the blend on the skin helps to make the skin texture softer. In addition, you may also add a few drops of this oil to the shampoo you use regularly to help keep your hair gleaming, thick as well as supple. Furthermore, the essential oil extracted by steam distilling the patchouli leaves is also used as a preservative in blended tobacco as well as wax candles for its base aroma.

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Among the several remedial qualities of patchouli essential oil, its anti-depressant attribute is considered to be highly important. Being an excellent anti-depressant agent, this natural oil facilitates people to drive away depression and melancholy and uplift their spirits and induce positive thoughts. Application of this essential oil makes people suffering from depression experience joy and tranquility. Therefore, this oil is said to be a wonderful remedy for stress and mood swings. It is comforting as well as relaxing and helps to soothe the fatigued mind and body.

Patchouli essential oil has the potential to cure as well as prevent several medical conditions. It is extensively used in aromatherapy by means of inhalation, vaporization, bathing, massage and spray. Below is a brief discussion on the condition specific uses of this essential oil, which you may find interesting and useful.

  • The essential oil obtained from the leaves of the patchouli plant is an effective anti-inflammatory agent and, hence, beneficial for people suffering from fever. It not only helps to diminish inflammation due to fevers, but also helps to avoid the ulcers and wounds becoming infected. This action of the oil is effective in preventing the wounds and ulcers from getting septic.
  • Patchouli essential oil is believed to possess aphrodisiac properties that help to stimulate craving for sexual activities. Hence, this oil is frequently recommended for treating conditions, such as erectile dysfunction (ED), impotency and loss of interest in sexual activities as well as other problems associated with these disorders.
  • The essential oil of patchouli also possesses diuretic properties and helps the body to get rid of excessive water retained by it by promoting urination. Use of this essential oil not only increases the amount of urine outflow, but also results in frequent urination. The diuretic property of this oil also helps the body to get rid of toxins, wastes, surplus weight, reduce cholesterol levels in the blood stream and, most importantly, reduce high blood pressure.
  • Patchouli essential oil has also been found to be a mild sedative and is effective in diminishing the intensity of epileptic attacks. In addition, the tranquilizing attribute of this essential oil is helpful in treating coughs and also reducing convulsions or spasms. The essential oil of patchouli is also a helpful remedy for allergies, as its use alleviates hypersensitivity of our body towards anything that has the potential to evoke allergic reactions.
  • In addition to the above mentioned attributes of patchouli essential oil, it also possesses tonic properties. Consuming measured doses of this natural oil orally on a regular basis can help to maintain the health of the liver, stomach and intestines, thereby, enhancing the metabolism of you body. At the same time, ingestion of this oil also helps to regulate the excretory system as well as fortify the immune system. However, it is important to use this essential oil internally only after consulting a qualified and competent medical practitioner.
  • Patchouli essential oil is an excellent stress buster and, at the same time, provides comfort and relaxation to the fatigued mind and body. Having a good massage with this essential oil helps to loosen the tired muscles, combat exhaustion, alleviate mental tension and stress as well as invigorate the body as well as the mind. In fact, patchouli body oils are very trendy and, hence, they are now available with several manufacturers.

General properties

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiseptic
  • antiviral
  • fungicidal
  • relaxing
  • rejuvenating
  • stimulating
  • uplifting

Blends well with

General uses


Patchouli essential oil, which is highly used by the perfumery industry, is often sold adulterated. Often totally different oil is sold to unassuming customers as the essential oil obtained from cubeb, a different herb grown in the tropical climatic regions. Even cedar oil is also camouflaged as patchouli essential oil. Therefore, it is important to be cautious while purchasing patchouli essential oil.


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