HomeHealth & WellnessWhat Is Patchouli Essential Oil? Benefits, Uses, And Side Effects

What Is Patchouli Essential Oil? Benefits, Uses, And Side Effects

Patchouli essential oil has smitten the entire perfume industry with its sensual, woody, voluptuous notes. There is a distinct base note to this iconic scent of the sixties which evokes a feeling of warmth. This natural healing oil boosts spiritual uplifting, calms your mind, and keeps you grounded.

Patchouli oil is also said to offer many skin and hair benefits. It may help you get rid of wrinkles, blemishes, and dandruff. This oil’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiseptic properties are also said to help you treat various skin and hair issues. Learn more about the benefits of this essential oil for hair, skin, and health in this article. Take a look!

What Is Patchouli Oil?

Patchouli essential oil is made by steam distilling the dried leaves of patchouli, an aromatic herb. Patchouli, scientifically known as Pogostemon cablin Benth, belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. A wide range of herbs like peppermint, lavender, and rosemary come from this family.

The color of patchouli oil varies from dark yellow to dark brown. This viscous oil has a musky, earthy aroma that ages well. It has a sweet initial note followed by a rich, earthy finish (1).

Patchouli is a tropical South Asian perennial herb. For centuries, it was used in rituals and oriental perfumery. However, its popularity peaked in the 1960s with the hippie movement (2).

Aromatherapist Wendy Gardner recalls, “Patchouli is the oil of the Hippy era!”

This essential oil contains many unique features not found in any other essential oils. Keep reading to learn about them.

Features Of Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli oil is also used in cosmetics, aromatherapy, and even tobacco. “It’s great for soaps, lotions, and shampoo,” Gardner adds.

Leanna Serras of Fragrance X says, “Patchouli oil has gotten a bad rap because of the ’60s, but it’s been a staple in luxury perfume for a long time. Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, Viktor & Rolf’s Flower Bomb, Thierry Mugler’s Angel, and Etro’s Patchouly all feature patchouli prominently.”

Patchouli essential oil is also good on the skin. It is suitable for all skin types. Yet its most notable feature is its scent.

Serras adds, “It’s an earthy, sensual scent that adds mystery and exoticism to any fragrance.  Spicy, sweet, and smoky, it’s an unforgettable addition to perfume. Use patchouli when you want to make a statement, when you want to seduce, or when you want to boost your spirits.”

Numerous compounds contribute to its rich scent. The major components present in patchouli oil are patchoulol, δ-guaiene, α-guaiene, α-patchoulene, and seychellene (3). Some of the compounds are present only in patchouli, which makes the aroma unique and distinctive.

Patchouli oil must be used in small quantities as excessive amounts may overpower your senses. A little bit of patchouli oil goes a long way. Learn how to get the most out of this essential oil below.

How To Use Patchouli Oil

Gardner says, “It needs to be used diluted into a base and can be used as the sole scent or blended with many oils, including woods and citrus.”

Patchouli oil blends well with:

  • Bergamot oil
  • Cedarwood oil
  • Geranium oil
  • Ginger oil
  • Jasmine oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Orange oil
  • Vetiver oil
  • Rose oil
  • Sandalwood oil
  • Ylang-ylang oil

You can blend patchouli oil with any of the oils mentioned above. Add it drop by drop to your blends until you achieve the desired effect.

Gardner adds, “It’s an acquired taste though, a bit like Marmite. You’ll love it or hate it.”

Patchouli oil is used in the following ways:

1. Aromatherapy

Patchouli essential oil can be used as an ingredient in aromatherapy. It creates a tranquil, relaxing environment to relieve stress.

What You Need

  • 7 drops of patchouli essential oil
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops of ylang-ylang essential oil
  • 3 tablespoons of any carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil)

How To Prepare

1. Add all the components to a diffuser.
2. Make sure the ingredients are blended well in the diffuser.

2. Perfume Blend

The rich aroma of patchouli oil makes it the perfect perfume blend.

What You Need

  • 10 drops of patchouli essential oil
  • 6 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops of orange essential oil
  • 3 tablespoons of any carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil)

How To Prepare

1. Add all the oils to an airtight glass jar.
2. Shake the jar until all the oils have mixed together completely.
3. Use a cotton ball or an earbud to apply the perfume.

3. Bath oil

Patchouli oil can be used as a bath oil to relax the senses at the end of a tiring day.

What You Need

  • 4 drops of patchouli essential oil
  • 3 drops of bergamot essential oil
  • 3 drops of clary sage essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of any carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil)

How To Prepare

1. Add all the oils to a bottle and shake it well to mix them together.
2. Pour the oil blend into your hot bathwater before you get in.

4.Topical Application

Patchouli essential oil can be used topically to achieve smooth, radiant skin.

What You Need

  • 10 drops of patchouli essential oil
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of grapefruit essential oil
  • ½ cup of carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil)
  • ¼ cup of aloe vera juice

How To Prepare

1. Add all the oils to a glass bowl and mix well.
2. Massage a few drops of the blend gently into your skin.

Dr. Anna Chacon, a board-certified dermatologist, says, “Patchouli oil smells wonderful, fresh, and airy. It has a calming effect, is often used as an additive in perfumes, and has medicinal and therapeutic benefits.”

Learn more about the benefits of patchouli oil in the following section.

Benefits Of Patchouli Oil

1. Promotes Healthy Skin

Patchouli oil promotes collagen formation and the activity of antioxidant enzymes (4). This boosts the growth of skin cells and protects them. Its skin benefits include:

  • Reduces Fine Lines And Wrinkles

Patchouli oil contains patchoulol or patchouli alcohol that can prevent signs of aging caused by the sun. In addition, it can reduce wrinkles, improve skin elasticity and tone, and reduce the thickening of the skin (5). It is also said to reduce stretch marks, but there is not enough scientific evidence to prove the same.

  • Enhances Skin Permeability

Patchouli oil penetrates deep into the skin. It is, therefore, an excellent addition to your moisturizer. Its rejuvenating effects help address many skin problems. It can reduce scars and spots and treat dry and cracked skin (6), (7).

2. May Treat Dandruff

Studies suggest that patchouli oil can be used to deal with dandruff and oily hair (8).

3. Reduces Stress Levels

According to a study, the scent of patchouli oil reduced stress levels among emergency nurses and boosted compassion satisfaction. Thus, this essential oil may improve the quality of life at the workplace (9).

In addition, the compounds found in essential oils stimulate the brain and have a positive effect on mental health ( 10).

Patchouli oil calms the nerves as well. Inhaling the oil has been found to decrease sympathetic nerve activity by about 40% (11). These studies suggest that aromatherapy can may reduce stress and anxiety levels.

4. May Help You Sleep

The diacetone alcohol present in patchouli oil has sedative effects. According to a study, inhalation of the oil has shown sedative activity in the mice. Thus, it may help you sleep (12).

5. May Help Relieve Depression

The patchouli alcohol in patchouli oil has anti-depressant properties. In addition, several studies indicate that the smell of patchouli alcohol reduces depression by stimulating certain brain regions (13), ( 14).

6. May Fight Infections

The patchouli alcohol present in patchouli oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

A study showed its potent antibacterial activity against pathogens such as Bacillus, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and antifungal activity against Candida, Saccharomyces, and Aspergillus. These pathogens are associated with many skin infections (15), (16).

Patchouli oil helps fight severe skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne as well and soothes their symptoms (6).

7. May Reduce Inflammation

Patchouli oil contains patchoulol, α-bulnesene, and β-patchoulene. These compounds work to reduce inflammation. They reduce swelling, inhibit inflammation, and prevent cells from irritating the affected area (17), (18), (19).

The benefits of this essential oil may pique your interest, but be sure to use it correctly as it may lead to negative effects. Keep reading to learn what precautions you need to take while using patchouli oil.

Side Effects Of Patchouli Oil

Essential oils should never be used undiluted. Always dilute them with a carrier oil like coconut, jojoba, or olive oil.

Protect your eyes and mucous membranes from patchouli oil.

Dr. Chacon notes, “Side effects include possible irritant contact dermatitis and allergies in individuals who may be prone to them.”

Patchouli oil is non-toxic and non-irritating. But you must perform a patch test first to be on the safe side. Apply a small amount of diluted essential oil to your inner forearm to check for any reactions. Do not use it if you notice any redness, irritation, or other adverse effects in that area.

Dr. Chacon adds, “Patchouli does have a heavier floral aroma with a medicinal note and undertones of a chocolate aroma and, if overused, can cause headaches.”

This oil may interact with certain medications and interfere with blood clotting. Therefore, never take it internally without consulting a doctor (20).

The Final Takeaway

Patchouli essential oil is a popular perfume base note. It has a rich earthy aroma with top floral notes. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it a great addition to skin products. It calms your nerves and boosts your mood.

Patchouli can easily overpower other scents in high doses, so take care when adding it to any kind of blend at home. Always dilute it with a carrier oil and avoid applying it to sensitive areas. Make sure you perform a patch test before using this essential oil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does patchouli oil repel mosquitoes?

Yes. Patchouli essential oil can be used to eliminate bed bugs and keep mosquitoes at bay.

Does patchouli lower blood pressure?

No, patchouli cannot lower blood pressure.

Key Takeaways

  • Patchouli essential oil is an aromatic herb with many therapeutic uses. It is suitable for all skin types and blends well with many oils.
  • It can promote healthy skin, reduce stress levels, treat dandruff, and decrease inflammation.
  • Always dilute patchouli oil with any carrier oils like coconut or olive oils. However, overusing this essential oil may cause headaches.