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Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli has a long and interesting history in medicine, perfumery, cosmetics, and textiles. 

Patchouli Essential Oil Background

Patchouli essential oil has a rich, sweet, and musky aroma � a strong and spicy spell.  Its color is light yellow to dark brown, and it is quite a thick oil.  Many say that patchouli has one of the most distinctive aromas and is especially memorable.

A patchouli plant is a busy annual, which typically grows up to 3 feet high.   It has sturdy and hairy stem, together with large, furry, and very fragrant leaves.  You can find patchouli plants in Malaysia and India.  Patchouli is actually a distant relatives of both lavender and rosemary. 

How is patchouli made?  Producers extract patchouli essential oil from young leaves which are dried and fermented before a steam distillation process.  Patchouli oil actually improves with age � the aroma becomes fuller and better rounded.

Patchouli Essential Oil Benefits

Perfume: Patchouli oil is considered to be an exceptionally good base note in perfumes (base notes are the heavy, solid fragrances).  Patchouli can slow the evaporation of other more volatile oils so that their smell can be release over a longer stretch of time.  Patchouli goes well with many different essential oils including Rosemary, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Myrrh, Ginger, Jasmine, Rose, Lemongrass, Citrus, and Clary Sage.

Emotions: Patchouli oil helps to balance emotions and ground people emotionally.  It helps fight fatigue and sharpen the mind.  It is also known to help lift anxiety and address depression. 

General Health: Patchouli can help address nausea, colds, headaches, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.  In traditional Chinese Medicine, dried patchouli leaves and stems are used to regulate the flow and balance of 'chi'.

Insects: Patchouli is great for treating the irritation caused by insect bites.  You can also use it as a bug or mosquito repellant � it has been used as a moth repellent in Asia for many, many years.  Apply it neat (undiluted) with a  cotton ball directly on bites.

Skin: Use patchouli essential oil to aid with tissue regeneration.  It may help stimulate the growth of new skin cells.  It also promotes healing of wounds and prevents scarring.  Many people also use patchouli to help address chapped skin, dermatitis, eczema, acne, dandruff, water retention, enlarged pores, and athlete�s foot.

Romance: Patchouli oil is considered a relaxing aphrodisiac and may be helpful for addressing frigidity, impotence, or sexual anxiety.

Respiratory: Patchouli may help slow breathing.

Interesting notes

Historically, patchouli was put between Indian cashmere shawls to protect them from moths while they were in transit.  Stories tell us that the final consumers in England would not by the shawls unless they had the signature patchouli scent.  The patchouli aroma came to be known as the sign of true goods from the orient. 

Patchouli essential oils blend well with other oils that have a woodsy smell, such as Cedarwood, Rosewood, or Sandalwood.  Adding patchouli into a Citrus blend can help to balance the fresh citrus tones.  Patchouli is a wonderful base to floral blends when added to lavender, rose, or clary sage.