Ah, Patchouli - people seem to love it or hate it. This well know essential oil has a somewhat deserved
reputation as the scent of the Hippy generation (according to one source, its use began as a mask for
the odor of a particularly cherished herb), though its traditional use dates back hundreds, perhaps
thousands of years. Despite its checkered past, the oil is considered a very complex and therapeutic aromatic, with anti-depressant, anti-stress and uplifting action.
Today, Patchouli has a well-deserved reputation in aromatherapy, with its deep,
musky, and sweet odor (as this Special Dark is an exquisite example of) along with Earth and Fire balancing energy. It is an exotic aroma that can forever leave an
imprint on the olfactory memory. This is an especially nice organic variety - a little more expensive than
our select Patchouli, but lovers of this oil may want to give it
a try! A customer recently remarked about this oil: "Just a short message to let you know that the Organic Special Dark Patchouli I ordered is exactly what I have been looking for...amazing, after all these years it was right under my nose (pun intended.)" ~ T.B., Colorado.
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is a perennial herb native to Southeast Asia, growing wild in Sumatra
and Java at elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet – though it’s cultivation is more pervasive
in lower tropical jungles. This bushy plant grows to the height of 3 feet, having a strong stem and soft,
For essential oil production, the plant is cut two or three times per year, with the best quality
oil derived from leaves harvested in the wet season. The leaves are hand picked, bundled or baled, and allowed
to partially dry in the shade and ferment for a few days before the oil is extracted via steam distillation
(Patchouli oil is now becoming available as a CO2 extract in limited quantities - we may soon add this variety).
The fermentation process softens the plant’s cell walls, easing the extraction of the oil.
The relative ease of its cultivation, and its high oil yield keeps the price of true Patchouli
relatively low. It is important to note however, this is one of
the few essential oils that improve with age (others being Frankincense, Cedarwood, Sandalwood and Vetiver),
and that a properly aged product is much more desirable than a fresh one. Over time, the oil looses
a harshness that many find distasteful, and adds a sweet top note. As it ages, the oil turns from light yellow
to a deep amber, with the aroma becoming smoother and more rich. Principal constituents of the oil include:
Patchoulol ྐྵ~35%, Alpha-Bulnesene ྫྷ~20%, Alpha-Guaiene and Seychellene ྯ~25%, and Alpha-Patchoulene
Perhaps first due to its power as a moth repellent, the aroma of Patchouli was pervasive in cloth
and clothing exported from India in the 19th century. The scent became an indicator of true ‘Oriental’ fabric,
so much so that English and French garment makers were obliged to scent their imitation products with Patchouli
to ensure their acceptance in the domestic marketplace. Beyond its use for preventing holes from being eaten
in one’s clotting, Patchouli oil has been used for centuries in traditional medicine in Malaysia, China
Primarily indicated for skin conditions, the oil may be of benefit in cases of dermatitis, eczema,
acne, dry chapped skin, and other irritating conditions, along with dandruff and oily scalp conditions. As
a cell rejuvenator, it may help in healing wounds and reducing the appearance of scars. It is considered
an excellent remedy for insect and snake bites, and has been used as a fumigant and rubbing oil to prevent
the spread of fevers and to strengthen the immune system.
Aromatherapy and Perfumery Uses: Patchouli is considered an excellent base note and fixative in perfumery, being a component in many
famous perfumes. As a fixative, it slows the evaporation of other, more volatile oils so that their aroma
may be released over a longer period of time. A little patchouli can be used in natural perfume blends, adding
that special deep and earthy aroma. It mixes well with many essential oils, with almost all common oils being
mentioned across a variety of sources – these include Vetiver, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Frankincense,
Bergamot, Cedarwood, Myrrh, Jasmine, Rose, Citrus oils, Clary Sage, Lemongrass, Geranium and Ginger.
In Aromatherapy, this is considered a great balancer, relaxing yet stimulating, particularly relevant
for conditions of weak immunity where overwork and anxiety have left the individual in a susceptible state.
It is said to bring the three principal forces at work within the body – the Creative at the navel,
the Heart center, and transcendental wisdom a the crown – into harmony.
The oil may also relieve the strain of those with excessive mental activity who may feel ‘out
of touch’ with their body and sensuality. It has been considered a relaxing aphrodisiac, and can be
helpful for those with impotence, frigidity, and sexual anxiety that are products of mental anguish. Patchouli
combines this aphrodisiac effect with an antidepressant one, uplifting the mind with it’s sweet, warm,
As if this were not enough, Patchouli is thought to be a bringer of prosperity and abundance. Perhaps by
allowing one to open to these possibilities energetically, it is used in ceremonies and prayers by those
in need of financial or other type of infusion in their lives. One may simply close their eyes, imagine the
abundance they need, and inhale the oil’s aroma for a few seconds.
To learn more about the use of all our essential oils, we encourage you to visit The Ananda Apothecary Forums, where you can post questions regarding specific applications of each oil. Questions in the forums are regularly answered by Ananda Apothecary staff, and other experienced aromatherapy practitioners.