Patchouli oil is derived from a large evergreen perennial that is a member of the Labiatae family, and a close relative of mint, lavender, and sage. The name ’patchouli’ (Pogostemon cablin or Pogostemon patchouli) is said to come from the ancient Tamil words ‘patchai’ and ‘ellai’, meaning green leaf. Some say it comes from the Hindustan word ‘patchoi’, meaning to scent, referring to its use as a fragrance.
Patchouli originates from Southeast Asia. Today, it’s cultivated in China, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, but also grows in South America and other tropical regions like Hawaii.
Patchouli oil is extracted from the lightly fragrant leaves and the white, violet-marked flowers of the plant. It yields a thick, light yellow or brown liquid, with a strong, musk, earthy and slightly sweet aroma, reminiscent of wet soil. For some, the potent fragrance of this oil is an acquired taste.
What sets patchouli oil apart from other herbal oils is that it gets better with age. It’s light yellow color turns a deep amber, and the scent becomes smoother and richer.
Patchouli essential oil is favored for:
- Stress – Well known for its calming properties, Patchouli may help reduce symptoms of irritability, anger, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and depression. Brings a feeling of calm and peace. You may dilute with water and spray on your pillowcases and sheets.
- Anti-Inflammatory – Beloved for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, Patchouli is often used to promote cell regeneration, and reduce inflammation throughout the body. It is a favorite in treating vaginal infections, oral thrush, herpes, and different fungal infections.
- Insects – May be used as an alternative to chemicals in warding off ants.
- Aphrodisiac – Patchouli contains mild aphrodisiac properties.
- Deodorant – Smell sweet and fresh after using Patchouli as a deodorant!