Do you know Patchouli has health benefits? Learn how to use Patchouli to calm your mind, help anxiety, aid depression, heal skin, and how it helps with IBS by promoting a healthy gut biome. Enjoy the benefits of stimulating your skin's own collagen (think anti-aging, anti-scarring benefits), and more...
When I first started my skincare company, I was working a farmers market event in South Florida, and a customer who purchased our Patchouli Body Therapy Lotion gave me a Patchouli plant from her garden as a thank-you gift. It delightfully surprised me because up until then, I had only used the pure aged essential oil of Patchouli and had yet to see the actual plant and had previously assumed that Patchouli was made from the wood of a tree like Sandalwood or Cedar-wood. But Patchouli is a small plant with green leaves.
Patchouli Essential Oil
The leaves and stems are primarily used to make Patchouli essential oil. Its scent is warm and sweet, reminiscent of Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Cedar-wood in its depth, and has a deep earthy grounding scent quality. Many assume Patchouli is from tree bark or resin and are surprised to learn its oil comes from the shrub's leaves.
Patchouli comes primarily from Asia, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and is harvested after about 6-7 months and dried, then steam distilled for about 8 hours resulting in a beautiful golden amber oil. The more expensive Patchouli oil is dried and aged even longer, sometimes in oak barrels. The worldwide perfume industry prizes Patchouli for its deep scent. Patchouli is a "perfume" all by itself without the need for additives, which is why it is highly sought after by the industry.
Before being harvested, it is a lovely evergreen plant with uneven-toothed leaves that appear opposite of one another. It sprouts pink and white flowers. It lies close to the earth and can grow 3 feet high. It is in the mint family as it is closely related. Here's a picture of Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) and its pink and white flowers.
Aside from being a scent loved by many, Patchouli is used to calm the mind. In 2011 a study by the Journal of Natural Medicines found that patchouli oil can help promote sleep, so we've added them to the top of our list, which brings me to my next point.
Patchouli, Essential Oils, Stress, and the Limbic System & Central Nervous System.
A test was conducted using Patchouli on health care workers (emergency room nurses) and the resultant experience before and after smelling the main constituent in Patchouli (PA, Patchouli Alcohol). It was noted that the nurses who inhaled Patchouli were more compassionate to patients than the ones who inhaled a placebo. Patchouli was shown to lower the nurses' stress levels as well.
Here is a direct quote from the study.
Conclusions: Inhalation of patchouli oil effectively reduced the levels of stress and increased compassion satisfaction in emergency nurses, suggesting that patchouli oil inhalation may improve the professional quality of life of emergency nurses. ClinicalTrials.gov ID: KCT0004615. Here is the complete study here https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/acm.2020.0206
Perhaps I will bring this with me on my next medical appointment and help put a smile on both of our faces!
IBS Gut health and Patchouli
Patchouli has also been shown in scientific studies to promote better gut health and shows some promise in dealing with internal and external cancer prevention. Patchouli was shown to affect epithelial cells positively.
According to a Pubmed scientific study, "Patchouli alcohol (PA) has been widely used for the treatment of diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D) in traditional Chinese medicine, and the related mechanism remains to be fully understood." You can read the complete studies on the health benefits of Patchouli here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6812344/
Benefits of Patchouli & Human Health Studies.Read more scientific studies on the promise of here which states "Diverse health-beneficial activities have been documented for PA (Patchouli Alcohol a primary constituent in Patchouli), including anti-influenza virus , , , , anti-inflammatory , , , , anti-oxidative , anti-ulcerogenic , , anti-colitis , , anti-mucositis  and protective activities against brain and lung injuries , . Most recently, the effects of PA on cancer and metabolic disorders, including obesity, fatty liver, and gut microbiota, have come under investigation."
While Chinese Medicine has known about the benefits of Patchouli skin and gut health for thousands of years, it's nice to see that science is interested in its medicinal benefits by conducting even more studies so we may increase our understanding.
Essential Oil & Olfactory Brain-Body Connection.
The scent alone is reason enough for many to reach for Patchouli, plus the combined health benefits is yet another reason to include some Patchouli products into our lives. I enjoy using it in lotion and soap form as it is enhanced by being combined with other skin-enhancing smoothing properties.
You can diffuse the essential oil or breathe it directly from the bottle to help calm your mind. Nose bullets work great too. You can order them and fill them with your favorite essential oil. Smelling the essential oil in a lotion or soap is just as effective. When using the essential oil, I enjoy dabbing it on my neck and wrists to help calm my mind and help me relax in the evening. I sometimes add some essential oil of Patchouli to some almond oil or bath salts (or both) and take a nice relaxing bath while using my Goat Milk & Patchouli Soap to wash my hair and clean my body. It is always a lovely bath with Patchouli by my side. Plus, using soap and oil in the bath together helps rinse away any tub residue and makes cleaning the shower or tub a bit easier.
Patchouli is also used as an insect repellent (moths and termites. The scent pleases those who enjoy earthy, warm scents. Let's remember that Patchouli has been shown to help promote feelings of well-being. Yes, please! So, dabbing it around base boards mixed with some water is helpful.Make your own scent.
Patchouli mixes well with Lavender, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Rose, Clary Sage, Cedar-wood, and Sweet Orange essential oils. You may want to mix your own unique oil blend or purchase from an experienced maker. Either way, when you use Patchouli it will be working on many things at once making it a very diverse and coveted oil to keep handy.
Long History of Patchouli & Perfumers.
Patchouli Essential Oil is a base ingredient in many perfumes due to its fixative properties helping boost the longevity and complexity of other fragrances while helping preserve them and adding richness to other ingredients. According to a London-based Perfumer, "The fascination of patchouli is the contradiction between its bright, green, delicate leaves and tiny flowers and its powerful, deep, dark, earthy, sweet, spicy, woody scent that you would normally expect to find in roots and woods." Patchouli is also used in foods as a preservative and is a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) ingredient to prevent particular unwanted bacterial growth.
Patchouli and Skin Health
- Patchouli (PA) "significantly inhibited the increase in skin wrinkle formation, alleviated the reduction in skin elasticity, and increased the collagen content by about 21.9% and 26.3%, respectively. We also found that applying 6-9mg/mouse PO could decrease the epidermal thickness by about 32.6% and prevent the UV-induced disruption of collagen fibers and elastic fibers. For the complete study,
- click here https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32907352/
So, now you know why I added this beloved scent made with real aged dark Patchouli tEssential Oil to our Me and a Tree Patchouli Body Therapy Skin Enhancing Lotion and our very popular customer favorite Goat Milk & Patchouli Soap and have kept both since the start of my business! It's popular, and we Patchouli lovers stick together!
The list is indeed long on the health benefits of Patchouli's miraculous plant powers. Certainly, only the mind of a genius could have made plants that are perfectly healing to us human beings on an earth capable of producing life so perfectly for all its creations. We have the perfect tilt and perfect sun. One could study nature for the rest of life and still not fully understand the mystery and wisdom behind how our earth can heal us.
I hope you enjoyed this article on the many benefits of Patchouli essential oil and how it can enhance our body, mind, and health. This list is only a partial list of the many possibilities of Patchouli's benefit to humankind. Enjoy!
Patchouli may benefit the following
- Skin Health (Anti-Cancer)
- Inflammation (Anti-inflammatory)
- Photo Again (Anti-Aging)
- Skin Elasticity (Skin Nourishing, firming)
- Scar Prevention (Fades & prevents Scars)
- Crohn's Disease
- IBS (has a positive effect on epithelial cells and gut microbiota)
- Diarrhea related to IBS
- Pain relief
- Skin application
- For weight loss
- Antibacterial activity
- Anti-fungal activity
- As an insecticide (used for centuries)
- Sleep (calming the CNS)
- Mood enhancer
- Skin Smoothing Properties
Thank you so much Sara for your kind words! I’m glad to hear that you’ve always enjoyed the scent of patchouli and are now aware of its many health benefits. Patchouli is a truly remarkable oil with a multitude of uses, from aromatherapy to skin care and even insect repellant. I’m glad you found the article informative and that it increased your appreciation for this amazing essential oil!
What an excellent and informative article! I’ve always loved patchouli, on its own or as a component in fine perfumes, and I am delighted to learn about its health benefits. I’ve always known that smelling it lifts my mood immediately, but I love knowing it seems to have the effect of increasing compassion, too. Thank you for such a substantial and well-written, carefully researched article.