Patchouli Oil Uses Explained: What Is Patchouli Oil?

Patchouli plant.

Anyone who’s ever had any experience with DIY perfume making or deodorant making has probably heard of or used patchouli oil in the process. People have been using the oil as an active ingredient in creating perfumes and scents for centuries. Not only does it have a pleasant smell, but it also has a wide range of additional medicinal qualities. It’s effective for killing off germs and bacteria that lead to unpleasant odors on our body. So you can use the oil as a treatment for foul odors and not only as a simple perfume.

If you haven’t encountered patchouli oil yet, don’t worry. I’m going to talk you through the many advantages of this amazing natural oil. In our pell-mell and fast-paced lifestyle, it’s easy to become stressed and anxious regularly. Anyone who’s ever suffered from anxiety knows how harmful it can be to your general health. In fact, stress has been linked to a variety of diseases and disorders. The most notable of which is high blood pressure, which can ultimately lead to heart disorders and disease.

I don’t want to alarm you, but it’s important to know that if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, you need to do something about it. It’s not merely a matter of feeling better, but it’s essential to maintaining a healthy and balanced life. Essential oils, and patchouli oil in particular, can really help to ease your stress levels and help you relax.

It’s a safe, non-toxic and purely natural way to treat stress, anxiety and depression. There’s almost always a natural alternative for treating various disorders and illnesses. So why not at least try these before going the pharmaceutical route? That’s my argument at least, and I think that after reading this, you’ll definitely see my point.

What Is Patchouli Oil?

Jar of perfume with flowers.

Patchouli oil is used to make perfumes and other cosmetics.

The patchouli plant belongs to the pogostemon genus. It’s an herb that is closely related to the mint family. The plant naturally occurs in warm, tropical regions. It grows in most parts of the East, Southeast Asia and areas around the Indian Ocean. However, due to the plant’s ease of cultivation, it now also grows in most parts of the world. It’s utilized in various industries such as the perfume and cosmetics industry, as well as in hair care and for medicinal purposes.

In fact, people have been using the leaves of the oil as a medicinal treatment for minor wounds, insect bites (as well as a natural repellent), fevers and pain relief for centuries. It was most commonly utilized in ancient Chinese traditional medicine as well as in the Ayurvedic healing system – one of the oldest systems of healthcare in human history. Harvesting of the leaves of the plant can take place several times during the year. They’re then dried before the distillation process to make the extraction of their vital phytochemicals more effective.

Patchouli Oil: How Is It Made?

Like most plant-based essential oils, patchouli oil is created through a process of steam distillation – one of the oldest means of distillation there is. It is also widely regarded as the best means to produce essential oils. That’s because it produces the highest grade of oil with the least amount of chemical impurities.

Steam distillation involves drying the leaves of the patchouli plant. The next step is adding the leaves to a large vat of boiling water and leaving it to boil for roughly 5-6 hours. During this time, the boiling water produces steam. This helps to extract the phytochemicals and active biocompounds in the plant’s leaves through the process of evaporation. The vat is connected to a separate cooling chamber. Due to the pressure difference between the two chambers, the steam gradually moves into the cooling chamber.

The steam, which contains all the essential elements of the organic matter cools and condenses in this chamber to form droplets. The cooling chamber is connected to a flask or tap. As the droplets gather at the base of the chamber, they make up the liquid that we know as the essential oil. This is then removed from the mechanism via the tap/flask for bottling and packaging, etc.

What Does Patchouli Oil Smell Like?

Girl laying in a field of lavender.

Patchouli blends well with other scents such as lavender.

This is always a challenging question to answer. After all, the best way to identify or interpret a scent or smell in general is to actually smell it. However, the fact that patchouli oil is so widely used in the creation of perfumes and deodorants should give you a good indication of how popular the scent is. Patchouli has fixative properties. This means that it is a low-key, long-lasting scent which is often used to increase a perfume’s ability to last once applied.

The best way I can describe the scent is that it has a strong, musky odor reminiscent of fresh soil. However, it is also quite sweet. It generally blends well with lighter, more floral odors such as bergamot, vanilla, cinnamon, orange, lavender and geranium, among others. It’s great for using as a massage oil as well as in your oil burner or diffuser. You can even to inhale it straight out of the container.

Patchouli Essential Oil Benefits For Hair

Girl with hair flowing in the wind.

Using patchouli oil will make your hair feel light and soft.

Patchouli oil has a rich series of chemical compounds that make it very effective for treating your hair and scalp. In fact, the oil is often used in many shampoos. And typically, the same phytochemicals found in the oil feature in the recipes of the hair treatments available in our local supermarket. The benefit of using natural products is that they don’t come with any of the downsides that occur when using chemically enhanced shampoos. And the benefits of patchouli essential oil for hair and scalps are amazing. 

Of the phytochemicals, the main active compound found in patchouli oil is a chemical known as ‘patchoulene’. It’s very effective in treating your hair and scalp. The oil also contains a wide variety of sesquiterpenes and naturally occurring terpenes, which help it cut through and balance the sebum oil that your scalp produces. This helps reduce your hair’s oiliness, and it leaves your hair feeling lighter and softer. However, it doesn’t totally strip your hair of its natural oils. This means that it won’t lead to damage, making it suitable for sensitive hair and scalps.

The oil’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties can also help remove any germs or bacteria that may lead to the formation of inflammation or infection on your scalp. This is one of the leading causes of dandruff. By treating the problem from the root and reducing inflammation, you can prevent the creation and gathering of excess skin cells in your hair.

The oil’s natural astringent properties will also help to tighten the pores in your scalp. This will lead to stronger hair follicles and increased blood circulation. Which means that more nutrients and minerals will get to the hair follicles. The oil nourishes your hair from within, as opposed to the superficial treatments that most shampoos employ. 

Patchouli Essential Oil Benefits For Skin

African American woman with clear skin.

Patchouli oil will help heal your skin without drying it out.

The phytochemicals in patchouli oil make it very useful for treating a wide range of skin disorders and issues. The tendency to use patchouli essential oil for skin treatment is due to the large variety of chemical compounds in the oil. They include patchoulene, caryophyllene, and alpha-bulnesene, among others.

The oil has strong natural antiseptic properties, which makes it suitable as a treatment for minor cuts and wounds. You can apply the oil to help prevent infection without drying out your skin or creating any irritation or discoloration. (Which is common with many types of over-the-counter disinfectants.) The oil also has natural astringent qualities, which means that it can help wounds and scars heal faster and better. It does this by tightening the skin tissue and allowing for blood coagulation, thus sealing the wound and stimulating tissue growth.

The oil was used for many years as a treatment for skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. It can be quite effective in getting rid of dry, flaky skin. The oil is a great natural moisturizer. It will allow your skin to retain moisture for longer periods of time. And it will relieve signs of inflammation on the surface of your skin. Patchouli oil can also be used in a mixture or by itself as a natural deodorant and insect repellent. It will kill off the bacteria that cause foul odors and keep pesky insects like mosquitoes at bay.

Patchouli Essential Oil Uses Explained

Woman smiling while looking in the mirror.

When used in aromatherapy or as a massage oil, patchouli oil can relieve your stress.

Because there are so many uses for patchouli essential oil, this product definitely gives you a real bang for your buck. You can use it both internally and topically to treat many common disorders, infections and diseases. One of the main medicinal uses for patchouli oil is to treat fevers. It can be diluted in warm tea or in a glass of warm water with lemon, some orange juice and mint to help lower your body temperature and boost your body’s natural immune system.

The oil is also commonly utilized in aromatherapy for its ability to help ease the symptoms of depression. It can boost your energy levels and help you get rid of stress and anxiety. Simply add 5-8 drops of the oil, along with bergamot or lavender to a bowl of boiled water. Put your head over the bowl and cover with a towel to form a tent, then breathe in the steam for 5 minutes. It can also stimulate the release of dopamine as well induce drowsiness and help you get better sleep.

Finally, this oil is great as a massage oil or for use in diffusers or oil burners. When combined with other essential oils, it can have a long-term, fixative scent that will leave you feeling energized and refreshed. When you massage it into you skin it can ease and relax muscle pain, thus helping to relieve you of tension and discomfort.

For a real treat, I recommend using the oil for a scalp massage. This will help to alleviate any stress or pain you may be experiencing. It will also moisturize your scalp and keep your hair feeling and looking healthy and smooth. Once you try this, you’ll probably agree that prescription tranquilizers are simply not an option anymore.

DIY Patchouli Oil Explained

Making patchouli essential oil is quite a costly process. It only really makes sense to invest in if you plan on making large amounts of the oil – usually for commercial use. The machinery is expensive. Plus, your work area has to be kept perfectly hygienic all the time to ensure that the oil doesn’t become contaminated.

However, making your own patchouli infusion at home is quite a simple process and shouldn’t take more than a day to do. DIY projects are really fun and can be very rewarding once you get it right. The infusion is not as effective as the essential oil, but you can still use it to help treat your skin and even use it in cooking and baking.

DIY Patchouli Infusion Guide

To make your own patchouli infusion, you will need:

  • Patchouli leaves (roughly a handful)
  • Almond oil (olive or canola can be used in its place)
  • 2x glass mason jar
  • A large saucepan
  • Cheesecloth or muslin cloth as a filter

First, dry the leaves out in the sun for a few hours, or put them in your oven at a very low temperature for about 2-3 hours and monitor closely to ensure that nothing burns. Once the time has passed, place the leaves in a glass jar and fill it with your carrier oil of choice. You can also add a few drops of patchouli essential oil or other oils to help strengthen the quality of the infusion at this point.

Then seal the lid of the jar. Now, put some water in your saucepan – enough so that it’s almost full – and bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, turn off the heat immediately and place the sealed jar in the water – preferably standing, but you can place it on its side as well. Let the oil sit in the water until the water cools, then remove the jar from the water and store it in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight. Be sure to shake the oil well regularly and before use, but otherwise that’s it. Simple, easy and effective – not to mention affordable.

Conclusion

Three people jumping with the ocean in the background.

The verdict is in, you should definitely try patchouli oil.

I think it’s plain to see that patchouli oil really is worth its weight in salt. It’s effective as a medicinal treatment and for creating natural insect repellents. It’s even good for perfumes or moisturizers for both skin and hair. It’s a great addition to any collection of natural products and especially essential oils. In fact, during the middle ages, a bottle of patchouli essential oil was worth roughly one pound of gold. Thankfully, it’s a lot cheaper these days and it’s readily available. So when you think of it in those terms, you’ll be making the savings of a lifetime when you get your own vial of patchouli essential oil. So what are you waiting for?