Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli’s History

People either adore or detest patchouli oil. Although its traditional use stretches back hundreds, if not thousands of years, this well-known essential oil has a somewhat earned reputation as the perfume of the hippie generation (according to one source, it was first used to cover the smell of a particularly prized weed). Due to its rich, musky, and sweet perfume as well as its balancing effects on the energies of Earth and Fire, patchouli oil has earned a well-deserved reputation in aromatherapy. Its unusual scent has the power to etch itself into the olfactory memory for all time.

Patchouli, a perennial herb that is native to Southeast Asia, grows wild in Sumatra and Java at elevations of between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, however it is more widely cultivated in lower tropical jungles. This bushy plant has a sturdy stem, soft, hairy leaves, and a height of 3 feet. Two or three times a year, the plant is cut for the manufacture of essential oils; the best oil comes from leaves that are gathered during the rainy season. Before the oil is produced via steam distillation, the leaves are hand-picked, bunched or baled, and left to partially dry in the shade and ferment for a few days (Patchouli oil is now becoming available as a CO2 extract in limited quantities). The fermentation process softens the plant’s cell walls, easing the extraction of the oil.

How Patchouli Oil Is Used

True Patchouli essential oils are generally inexpensive because to its relatively simple cultivation and large oil output. The fact that Patchouli is one of the few essential oils that gets better with age (together with Frankincense, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, and Vetiver) and that properly aged Patchouli oil is considerably more desired than a fresh one should be noted. The oil gains a pleasant top note and loses a harshness that many people dislike over time. The oil’s color changes as it ages from a light yellow to a deep amber, and its perfume becomes richer and smoother.

The scent of patchouli was widely used in textiles and garments exported from India in the 19th century, maybe first as a result of its effectiveness as a moth repellant. To ensure that their copycat items would be accepted in the home market, English and French clothing manufacturers were forced to fragrance their imitation products with patchouli. The scent eventually became an identifier of authentic “Oriental” fabric. Patchouli oil has been utilized in traditional medicine in Malaysia, China, and Japan for millennia aside from its usage in preventing holes from being eaten in one’s clothing. Patchouli is primarily used to treat skin diseases, including dermatitis, eczema, acne, dry skin chapping, and other aggravating conditions, as well as dandruff and oily scalp issues. It may aid in the healing of wounds and the lessening of scarring as a cell rejuvenator. It is regarded as an effective treatment for snake and insect bites, and it has also been used as a fumigant and rubbing oil to boost the immune system and stop the development of fevers.

Aromatherapy and Perfumery Uses of Patchouli Oil

Due to its inclusion in many well-known fragrances, patchouli oil is regarded as a great base note and fixative in perfumery. Other, more volatile oils that are used as a fixative take longer to evaporate so that their aroma can be released over a longer period of time. Patchouli can be used in little amounts to give natural perfume mixtures that unique, deep, and earthy scent. Almost all common oils are described in a variety of sources, and they include Vetiver, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Myrrh, Jasmine, Rose, Citrus oils, Clary Sage, Lemongrass, Geranium, and Ginger. It blends nicely with many essential oils.

Patchouli is regarded as a powerful balancer in aromatherapy, calming yet stimulating, and especially important for circumstances of poor immunity where overwork and anxiety have left the person in a vulnerable state. The three main energies at work in the body, the Creative at the navel, the Heart center, and transcendental wisdom at the crown, are believed to be brought into harmony by this.

It has been regarded as a calming aphrodisiac that can be beneficial for people who suffer from impotence, frigidity, and sexual anxiety. Patchouli’s sweet, warm, and spicy aroma uplifts the mood by combining an erotic impact with an antidepressant one.

As if this weren’t enough, patchouli is regarded as a symbol of prosperity and abundance. The oil is utilized in ceremonies and prayers by persons who need a financial or other form of infusion in their lives, by enabling one to open to these possibilities energetically. Simply close one’s eyes, see the abundance one needs, and take a short whiff of the oil.

Simple Recipes to Try

  • 3 parts Patchouli and 1 part Rosemary Cineol. This is a wonderfully uplifting blend combining the deep earthiness of Patchouli with the invigorating aroma of Rosemary. This can certainly be worn as a perfume, or used in a diffuser. 
  • Blend of 3 parts coriander, 2 parts patchouli, and 1 part bergamot when things get dull. This could brighten one’s mood and serve as a reminder of the joy that exists in life.
  • For the sensually insecure, try 1 part Geranium, 1 part Patchouli and 1 part Bergamot. A beautiful yet simple blend for getting comfortable in one’s own skin.

Many people who claim to loathe patchouli may actually appreciate it after they try a properly aged or masterfully blended oil, albeit it could require a little education.