Patchouli Oil Uses

Patchouli oil, popular in Asian countries for its use in perfumes and herbal medicines, is now, used for various purposes. Read on to know more about the same.
Patchouli, is a plant, which is native to the tropical regions of Asia. This bushy herb belongs to the mint family and grows to a height of two to three feet. They have erect stems and the small flowers of these plants are pink or white in color. The leaves of patchouli have a distinct and exotic scent. So, these plants have been used for making perfumes throughout the centuries. Patchouli plants are equally popular for their therapeutic properties.

History of Patchouli

Asians were well aware of patchouli's moth repellent properties, even before the nineteenth century. It is evident from the fact that the silk traders of Asia, had packed their silk clothes along with patchouli leaves, in order to repel the moths from those expensive goods. In fact, the aroma of the patchouli leaves were considered by the Europeans as an indication of genuine goods from the Orient. By the middle of the nineteenth century, Europeans started importing dried patchouli leaves, which were used to scent their goods. Later, essential oil extracted from the dried patchouli leaves was used as a fixative (substance that combines well with other ingredients in a blend, slowing down the evaporation of the fragrance) in perfumes and cosmetics. This increase in demand led to the commercial cultivation of several varieties of patchouli across Asia and in some Caribbean countries. Distillation plants were also set up in large numbers.

Patchouli Essential Oil Extraction

Patchouli essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the leaves. Usually, the harvested leaves are dried and partially fermented before the process of distillation. Fresh patchouli oil lacks the deep earthy aroma. The longer it sits, the aroma and the color of the oil improves. It will become more vicious and the color changes from green to pale yellow, red and dark amber. This oil is also extracted through CO2 extraction method, wherein CO2 is used as solvent.

Patchouli Oil Uses

Traditionally, patchouli was used as an antidote for snakebites and as a moth repellent. Parts of this plant were used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat cold, headaches, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Patchouli oil was also used in some of the alternative treatment methods as an aromatherapy oil. It was used as an immune system booster and for relaxation. It was used to heal wounds and to treat some skin conditions too. Studies show that patchouli oil contains chemical compounds like b-patchoulene, a-guaiene, caryophyllene, a-patchoulene, seychellene, a-bulnesene, norpatchoulenol, patchouli alcohol and pogostol, which are responsible for the medicinal properties of this product. The following are some of the uses for patchouli oil.
  • It is useful for healing cuts and wounds and also acts as an antiseptic, as it protects the wounds from infection. It has also been observed that this oil is good for fading the scars left by wounds and the marks of acne, boils and measles.
  • The uses of patchouli oil includes its action as a diuretic, which increases the frequency of urination and leads to a drop in blood pressure, lower cholesterol, weight loss and effective removal of toxins from the body.
  • It is good for muscle contractions, which in turn reduces sagging of skin, hair fall, muscle loosening, loosening of gums. It is also believed that hemorrhage can be prevented by using this oil, as it contracts the blood vessels.
  • Patchouli oil, being an antidepressant, is often known as a mood lifter. It calms down people with anxiety and depression and can also uplift the mood.
  • Patchouli is also used as an aphrodisiac, as it is beneficial for treating sexual problems like erectile dysfunction, loss of libido and impotency.
  • Patchouli health benefits include its action on skin. It aids the body in regeneration of new skin cells, thereby, making the skin healthy and young.
  • Patchouli is used to treat fever, as it can lower the body temperature and fight the infections that cause fever. It is also good for reducing the inflammations caused by fever.
  • It is also popular as an anti fungal agent, which can prevent fungal infections, like athlete's foot.
  • The oil is effective as an insecticide, and has been used through the centuries as moth repellent. Apart from moths, mosquitoes, ants, beg bugs, lice, fleas and flies, can be repelled by using sprays, body lotions, fumigants, vaporizers and incense sticks, which contain this oil.
  • Patchouli oil uses include its action as a sedative and is used in the treatment of convulsions, coughs and epileptic attacks. It is also used in treating allergies.
  • Some people use this oil as a tonic, to boost the metabolic functions and to strengthen the liver, stomach and intestines.
Apart from the above mentioned uses, patchouli oil is beneficial as a remedy for constipation and for insect bites. It is also good for hair, as it is used to treat dandruff and as a conditioner for dreadlocks.
There are numerous patchouli oil uses and side effects are also very rare. However, intake of this oil should be as per the instructions of a qualified herbal practitioner. You must also seek the opinion of your general practitioner, before starting this herbal treatment. It is also very important to use high quality oil or certified organic essential oil of patchouli. Using contaminated products may affect your health negatively.

Author : Sonia Nair