Patchouli Oil: Benefits, Risks and Uses

Patchouli Oil: Benefits, Risks and Uses

What is Patchouli Oil?

It is a natural oil extracted from the leaves of Pogostemon cablin plant that is also known as patchouli plant. Patchouli plant is vastly grown and benefitted from in Indonesia and its surrounding Southeast Asian countries since the past many centuries. It has found its way into many various cultures around the globe due to its distinct aroma and medicinal chemical constituents. In the article below, we will discuss the chemical composition, historical significance, health benefits, associated risks, and popular uses of patchouli oil along with curiously asked questions around this aromatic plant.

Chemical Formulation of Patchouli Oil

Patchouli oil derived from patchouli plant has a variety of chemical constituents. The constituents contributing to its rich aroma include patchouli alcohol, alpha patchoulene, beta patchoulene, seychellene, norpatchoulenol and alpha Bulnesene.

Whereas pogostone and eugenol contain all the therapeutic properties that the oil promises to give. Research and studies on patchouli oil has concluded that it is enriched with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents and exerts antidepressant effects on its consumers.

Cultural Significance of Patchouli Oil

The Pogostemon cablin holds cultural significance and industrial importance all over the world today. It is particularly known for its rich aroma and its medicinal application has healed tons of ailing populations. It was once a priceless possession in ancient trade routes due to its luxurious and exotic significance. Conventional and traditional medicine recognise the use of patchouli plant in various health conditions, spiritual ceremonies, and meditation practices.

What are the Health Benefits of Patchouli Oil?

Patchouli Oil is derived from Pogostemon cablin plant that is traditionally used for its enriching aroma and therapeutic properties. Enlisted below are the health benefits offered by patchouli oil.

  1. Skin Rejuvenation

Patchouli oil has vast benefits in terms of its topical application. It promises a wide range of skin health benefits along with ensuring protection from allergic reactions to various allergens. It has the potential to treat conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and acne vulgaris.

It provides a defensive barrier against the bacteria living on the skin from causing skin infections or acne. It also soothes the irritated skin and make it soft and supple. Patchouli oil is now a common inclusion in various skincare products and brands of creams and lotions for its versatile skin care benefits.

  1. Mood Boosters

The aroma of patchouli oil is also therapeutic as it acts as a potent anxiolytic that elevates the mood with each inhalation. Its scent carries earthy and musky notes that evokes tranquillity and sparks a comforting sense of grounding. Along with mood elevation, its aromatic properties also work to relieve lethargy and sense of somnolence. It evokes positive and inspirational thinking that radiates to the body that begin to sprinkle positivity in each aspect of life.

Moreover, inhalation of patchouli oil also effects the hormones and works to release dopamine and serotonin. Adequate levels of dopamine and serotonin or prompt release of these chemicals upon need also calms the psychological states in situations of anger or anxiety attack.

  1. Microbial Inhibition

The broad spectrum antimicrobial properties of patchouli oil against various pathogens makes it an ideal ingredient for detergents, household cleaners and insect repellents. Research on patchouli oil during the past 5 years has shown that it prevents infections due to bacteria, fungi and viruses that are the most common causative organisms of a wide group of communicable infections.

Patchouli oil has also been used in applications such as membrane manufacturing and starch hydrogel development due to its antimicrobial properties. Want to benefit from its antimicrobial properties? Checkout Welzo’s Patchouli and Sandalwood Soap that offers all the antimicrobial properties along with natural skin soothing.  

  1. Inflammation and Pain Relief

The anti-inflammatory properties of patchouli oil effectively soothe the ongoing inflammations in the body. It has the potency to calm both external and internal inflammation such as arthritis and skin irritations.

The pain relieving properties of patchouli oil comes after it has effectively relieved the inflammation. It is often massaged on sore joints for pain relief. Moreover, the rich aroma of patchouli oil is also therapeutic in a way that it relieves pain with each inhalation. It signals relaxation to the brain through the olfactory senses and suppress the perception of pain. Individuals experiencing severe headache are recommended to apply patchouli oil directly over the forehead and lay down to rest in a quiet room to benefit from its therapeutic and analgesic aroma.

What are the Risks associated with Patchouli Oil?

The health benefits are certainly many but that must not exclude the discussion of its associated risks. Enlisted below are known risks associated with consumption of Patchouli Oil.

  1. Skin Irritation

Patchouli oil is loaded with aromatic and therapeutic compounds that provides many benefits to skin. However, it is also crucial to stay aware of its side effects on the skin. Allergic contact dermatitis due to patchouli oil is one such reaction. It is a kind of skin irritation that occurs within 12 to 72 hours after the patchouli oil meets the skin. It results in itchy and inflamed skin and is most common in occupational groups that frequently use the oil (for example., aromatherapists) and in individuals with sensitive skin.

To avoid skin irritation due to patchouli oil- it is important to get a patch test before incorporating this essential oil in routine. Apply a small amount of oil on any area of the body and wait for a few days until there’s no risk of delayed hypersensitivity reaction (allergic contact dermatitis). If the site under test undergoes inflammation, discontinue the use of patchouli oil immediately and make sure to document the allergy for future personal health information. Moreover, it is also recommended to use patchouli oil in small amounts or upon dilution with carrier oils (such as almond oil or coconut oil) to minimize the possibility of skin irritation.

  1. Limitations in Research on Patchouli Oil

The use of patchouli oil has not been experimented in certain groups of individuals such as pregnant and lactating (breastfeeding) females due to the risk of posing threat to the health of both mother and the child. It is important for this group to consult with a healthcare expert before opting for the patchouli oil as it interacts with the hormone levels as well.

  1. Medicinal Interactions

Patchouli oil interacts with medications such that it either lessens or exaggerates their effects on the body. These medications include particularly those that are metabolised by the liver. It is crucial to consult with the healthcare expert before consuming patchouli oil while one is already undertreatment for a specific medical condition and receiving medications for it.

  1. Sensitivity and Allergy

Individuals allergic to a substance may also exhibit sensitivity or allergy to other related substances, be it mild or moderate. Similarly, cases of allergic reactions have been reported after consumption of patchouli oil in individuals already prone to allergies. The allergic reaction to patchouli oil is often in the form of allergic contact dermatitis that goes away with avoidance and abstinence from topical use of patchouli oil. It is important to take patchouli oil for health benefits but start from lower amounts to prevent adverse outcomes.

The risks and considerations of patchouli oil must not be taken lightly as long-term skin irritations lead to thickening of the skin and scar formation.

What are the Uses of Patchouli Oil?

Patchouli Oil is derived from the herbs of Pogostemon cablin plant that provides a range of health benefits and exotic aroma. Enlisted below are some of the uses of patchouli oil.

  1. Aromatherapy

The use of various essential oils for improving health and overall well-being is called aromatherapy. The tranquil and grounding scents of patchouli oil exerts relaxation and calms the nerves. Thus, patchouli oil is popularly used in aromatherapy alongside meditation to relieve stress and anxiety.

  1. Perfumery

Traditionally, patchouli plant was a valuable possession in trade routes for its characteristic exotic and luxurious scents. Its scent carries notes of both sweet and spicy that makes it an ideal choice for making bestselling perfumes. Thus, patchouli oil is commonly used in perfumes, creams, body lotions and soaps for the rich aroma. The skin friendly properties also favour the use of patchouli oil in vast variety of beauty products and moisturising creams.

Other than perfumes, it is also a popular for use in diffusers for home fragrance. Simply add a few drops of patchouli oil in a diffuser and keep it indoor to create a more delightful and welcoming surrounding.

  1. Topical Application

Patchouli oil is a popular essential oil for topical use. It has many skin health benefits such as treating relieving eczema and acne. It calms the allergic reactions of the skin and soothes the skin from irritants. It has pain relieving properties as well that makes it suitable for massage over aching joints. It relieves inflammation in such joints and relieve the pain as well.

Moreover, patchouli oil is also recommended for use in shampoos and conditioners for better hair health. Adding a few drops of the oil to hair care routine ensures a better scalp health, rapid hair growth and pleasantly fragrant hair.

  1. Miscellaneous

  • It relieves the symptoms of flu, headaches, and stomach pain due to its therapeutic aroma.
  • Its antimicrobial properties make it an absolute addition in detergents and home cleaners as it wipes away all the bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • It is edible and often used in minimal quantities for adding flavours to the meal.

Welzo recommends consulting with a healthcare professional before consuming patchouli oil for the above-mentioned uses to ensure safety and better health outcomes.

People Also Ask

Can patchouli oil benefit the respiratory health?

The potent antimicrobial properties of patchouli oil help in protection from various bacteria, fungi, and virus infections. Its antimicrobial properties have the potential to benefit the respiratory health by protecting it from various common infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract. Moreover, patchouli oil is one of the essential oils that is most used in aromatherapy. Upon inhalation, it relieves congestion and spastic airways, thereby relieving the respiratory tract from cold and bronchitis. The rich aroma of patchouli oil also promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and empowers the immune functions that also benefits the respiratory health as the airways strengthens its defences. It is commonly added to diffusers for home fragrance, but individuals can also benefit from it with respect to the respiratory health by adding it to steam inhalations. The healing properties of patchouli oil makes it ideal for massage over the chest (chest rub) as well to expel the excess mucus accumulated in the airways.

What are some DIY methods to use patchouli oil for homemade products?

Let’s try the following:

  1. Add small amounts of patchouli oil into homemade soaps, lotions, and candles for enhanced benefits and aroma.
  2. Mix patchouli oil with shea butter body lotion.
  3. Mix a few drops of patchouli oil in water along with some lavender oil as well. Pour it into a spray bottle and here’s a delightful room spray.
  4. Add patchouli oil to hair shampoos and conditioners for smooth and fragrant hair. Similarly, it can also be added to bath for a calming experience.

Experiment with different combinations and go creative with patchouli oil!


Patchouli oil is extracted from the herbs of Pogostemon cablin plant that is mostly grown in Indonesia and rest of the Southeast Asian countries. It contains aromatic and therapeutic chemical constituents that provide health benefits including better skin, respiratory health benefits, antimicrobial properties, analgesia and anti-inflammatory properties and mood enhancing. Aromatherapy is the practice of improving health using therapeutic aroma of essential oils including patchouli oil. The risks associated with patchouli oil are due to research limitations in pregnant and lactating females. These groups of individuals must take care while consuming patchouli oil. Patchouli oil can be used in minimal quantities for cooking, application on skin to relieve skin irritation, hair massage, chest rub, aromatherapy, perfumes industry, shampoos, and hair conditioners.

Welzo recommends diluted or minimal use of patchouli oil for topical or cooking applications. Moreover, individuals susceptible to allergic reactions must perform a patch test before incorporating patchouli oil into their routine.

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