Botanical Name: Pogostemon cablin
Part Used: Leaves
Process: Steam Distillation
Plant Description: Native to the subtropics of Asia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It is cultivated extensively in its native habitats and in India, China, Malaysia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, West Africa, and South America. In addition to local distillation, the oil is also produced in Europe and the US. Patchouli is a perennial bushy herb with erect stems and soft furry leaves that grows to a height of 3 feet and bears small, pale pink and white flowers. According to Steffan Arctander, in order to obtain all the oil from the dried patchouli during steam distillation, the cell walls of the plant material need to be ruptured, either by scalding with superheated steam, by light fermentation, or by stacking or baling the material to effect a modest fermentation. This latter method, if properly conducted, yields the best Patchouli oil.
Oil Description: Golden orange, amber or light golden brown, somewhat viscous liquid. Patchouli essential oil has a rich, sweet-herbaceous, earthy-musky, woody and somewhat spicy-balsamic aroma. Characteristic initial notes are wine-like and somewhat floral, but may be absent or not apparent in freshly distilled batches. On a scent blotter, the richness and tenacity of the body note will be perceptible for weeks or months and remain sweet throughout. As with a few other essential oils (such as frankincense, myrrh and sandalwood), the aroma of Patchouli is one that improves with age under proper storage conditions.
Historical/Traditional Uses: Patchouli has for centuries played an important part in the medicinal practices of Malaysia, China, and Japan. It was indicated for fevers, infectious diseases, inflammations, and as an important remedy for snake and insect bites. It was also popular as a fumigant for bedbugs. In the 19th century, textiles from India were in vogue in Europe and England; bundles of fabrics came off the ocean vessels scented with Patchouli. Larvae hatched from moth eggs eat holes in fabrics, so before being loaded onto the ships, dried Patchouli leaves were placed in the folds of the cloth to deter the egg-laying moths. In the 20th century, textiles from India once again became popular with the counterculture groups of the 60s and 70s as did the aroma of Patchouli, thus the association of hippies and Patchouli became indelibly linked. To this day, people either love or disdain its unique aroma, sometimes regardless or especially because of its recent history.
Applications (Uses and Indications): In aromatherapy, Patchouli essential oil is most notable for its effectiveness in skin care. It is attributed with antiseptic, antibacterial, cell regenerative and emollient properties, making it very useful for dry, wrinkled and mature skin. When inhaled, it has a calming effect and acts as an antidepressant, aphrodisiac, and nerve sedative; it is also useful for repelling insects. It is used extensively in the cosmetic and food industries and as a fixative in soaps and perfumes. In perfumery, Patchouli essential oil is considered a base note and blends well with bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, clary sage, clove, elemi, frankincense, galbanum, geranium, ginger, jasmine, labdanum, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, myrrh, neroli, oakmoss, pine, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, and ylang ylang.
Contraindications (Safety and Precautions): Patchouli essential oil is non-toxic, non-sensitizing and non-irritating.
Always dilute essential oils before using. Keep essential oils out of the eyes and mucous membranes; in case of contact, DO NOT use water, instead place a drop or two of vegetable oil on a tissue to gently wipe out of eye or off area of contact. In severe cases, seek professional help immediately. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, call 911 immediately.
The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of this or any products from Ancient Ways Botanicals. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. For external use only. You are responsible for understanding the safe application of these products.