PATCHOULI OIL: THE HISTORY, BENEFITS, USES, AND MORE!
- In the 1800s, the scent of Patchouli Oil became the benchmark that determined the authenticity of Eastern fabrics like silk, as it was used to protect the fabrics from insects.
- Patchouli Oil is believed to have received its name from the Hindi word “pacholi,” meaning “to scent.”
- The Patchouli plant belongs to a family of other well-known aromatic plants, including Lavender, Mint, and Sage.
- Patchouli Oil was traditionally used in Asian folk medicine to treat hair problems like dandruff and oily scalp, as well as skin irritations like dryness, acne, and eczema.
- Patchouli Essential Oil has a grounding, balancing, calming scent and provides numerous health benefits, making it ideal for therapeutic use in cosmetics, aromatherapy, and cleaning products.
HISTORY OF PATCHOULI OIL
The warm, spicy, musky and sensuous scent of Patchouli Essential Oil is commonly associated with the hippy generation and referred to as “the scent of the sixties.” This oil is derived from the leaves of the highly-valued Patchouli plant, which belongs to a family of other well-known aromatic plants, including Lavender, Mint, and Sage. Patchouli is native to and extensively cultivated in tropical regions such as Brazil, Hawaii, and Asian regions like China, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In the Asian countries, it was traditionally used in folk medicine to treat hair problems like dandruff and oily scalp, as well as skin irritations like dryness, acne, and eczema.
Although its use was widespread in the 1960s, it began to be used hundreds of years earlier; its high value inspired early European traders to exchange Patchouli for gold. One pound of Patchouli was worth one pound of gold. It was also believed that the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, better known as “King Tut,” was buried with 10 gallons of Patchouli Essential Oil inside his tomb. Having been used to scent Indian fabrics such as fine silks and shawls to rid them of moths and other insects in the 1800s, Patchouli Oil is believed to have received its name from the Hindi word “pacholi,” meaning “to scent.” Another theory states that its name comes from the Ancient Tamil words “patchai" and "ellai,” meaning “green leaf.” The story goes that the scent of Patchouli Oil became the standard by which fabrics would be judged as being true “Oriental” fabrics. Even English and French clothing makers would scent their fabrics with artificial Patchouli Oil to boost clothing sales.
There are 3 species of Patchouli, which are called Pogostemon Cablin, Pogostemon Heyneanus, and Pogostemon Hortensis. Of these, the Cablin species is the most popular and is the one cultivated for its essential oil, as its therapeutic properties lend it a relative superiority over other species.
Patchouli Essential Oil is presently used for various purposes including perfumery, aromatherapy, cosmetic products, home cleaning products, and clothing detergents. Through any of these methods, the calming scent of the essential oil relieves anxiety, stress, and depression, making it effective for achieving relaxation, especially in meditation.
BENEFITS OF PATCHOULI OIL
Patchouli Essential Oil’s active chemical components contribute to its therapeutic benefits that give it the reputation of being a grounding, soothing, and peace-inducing oil. These constituents make it ideal for use in cosmetics, aromatherapy, massage, and in home cleansing products to purify the air as well as surfaces. These healing benefits can be attributed to the oil’s anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, deodorant, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicide, sedative and tonic qualities, among other valuable properties.
The main constituents of Patchouli Essential Oil are: Patchoulol, α-Patchoulene, β-Patchoulene, α-Bulnesene, α-Guaiene, Caryophyllene, Norpatchoulenol, Seychellene, and Pogostol.
Patchoulol is known to exhibit the following activity:
α-Bulnesene is known to exhibit the following activity:
α-Guaiene is known to exhibit the following activity:
- An earthy, spicy fragrance
Caryophyllene is known to exhibit the following activity:
Used topically after dilution in a carrier oil or in a skin care product, Patchouli Essential Oil can deodorize body odours, soothe inflammation, fight water retention, break up cellulite, relieve constipation, promote weight loss, facilitate the faster healing of wounds by stimulating the growth of new skin, moisturize rough and chapped skin, and reduce the appearance of blemishes, cuts, bruises and scars. It is known to fight infections that contribute to fevers, thereby reducing body temperatures. It can also relieve discomfort associated with digestive issues. By boosting circulation and thus increasing oxygen to the organs and cells, it helps the body retain a healthy-looking, youthful appearance. Patchouli Oil’s astringent properties help prevent the early onset of sagging skin and hair loss. This tonic oil improves metabolic functions by toning and strengthening the liver, stomach, and intestines and regulating proper excretion, which leads to an immune system boost that protects against infection and encourages alertness.
Used in aromatherapy, it is known to eliminate unpleasant odors in the environment and to balance emotions. The sedative scent stimulates the release of pleasure hormones, namely serotonin, and dopamine, thereby improving negative moods and enhancing the feeling of relaxation. It is believed to work as an aphrodisiac by stimulating sensual energy and boosting the libido. When diffused at night, Patchouli Essential Oil can encourage restful sleep, which can, in turn, improve mood, cognitive function, and metabolism.
- COSMETIC: Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Astringent, Deodorant, Fungicide, Tonic, Cytophylactic.
- ODOROUS: Anti-depressant, Anti-inflammatory, Aphrodisiac, Deodorant, Sedative, Anti-phlogistic, Febrifuge, Insecticide.
- MEDICINAL: Anti-fungal, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-depressant, Anti-septic, Astringent, Anti-phlogistic, Cicatrisant, Cytophylactic, Diuretic, Fungicide, Febrifuge, Sedative, Tonic.
CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY PATCHOULI OIL
The Patchouli plant thrives in the hot, humid temperatures of tropical countries and can be found growing near rice paddies or in open fields. It is also commonly found growing near Coconut, Pine, Rubber, and Peanut trees. The most common way of cultivating Patchouli is by planting cuttings from the mother plant after they are placed in water.
As long as the Patchouli plant receives adequate sunlight and water, it can grow on flat or sloped land. When exposed to high levels of sunlight, the leaves grow thick and small but contain a high concentration of essential oils. Less exposure to sunlight results in leaves that are bigger but that yield a lower volume of essential oils. Sufficient water drainage is necessary, as high water levels can cause the roots to decompose. The ideal soil for growing the Patchouli plant is soft, not tightly packed, and is rich in nutrients and organic matters. It should have a pH that is between 6 and 7. In this ideal environment, Patchouli can potentially grow to a height of 2 and 3 ft.
The area in which the Patchouli botanical grows should be free of all weeds and it should be maintained through fertilization and protection against insect infestations. Patchouli matures at the 6-7-month mark and can be harvested at this point. The seeds that are produced by the plant’s small, light pink, fragrant flowers, which bloom in late Autumn, can be further harvested to grow more Patchouli plants. The setback of this secondary method of growing Patchouli from its flower seeds is that, due to their extreme fragility and small size, if the seeds are handled carelessly or crushed in any manner, they become unusable.
Patchouli leaves can be harvested more than once a year. They are collected by hand, bundled together, and allowed to partially dry in the shade. They are then allowed to ferment for a few days, after which they are exported to the distillery.
HOW IS PATCHOULI OIL EXTRACTED?
The young Patchouli leaves are steam distilled from the Pogosteman cablin species. The top 3 to 4 pairs of Patchouli plant leaves are said to yield essential oils with the strongest aroma. Patchouli Essential Oil is usually thick and ranges in color from light yellow to a deep amber or brown. This is one of the factors that contribute to the oil’s improvement with increasing age. Its scent is comparable to wet soil, with a musky, earthy, and slightly sweet fragrance that can further be described as smooth and rich.
There is a belief that steam distilling Patchouli leaves when they are still fresh and close to their harvesting area, rather than when they are dried, will yield the freshest, highest quality of the oil. There are two types of Patchouli Essential Oil: Light and Dark. Although they are both extracted from the same species, that is the Pogosteman cablin species, the containers in which they are distilled determine their colors; if the oil is distilled in a stainless-steel vat, it remains thin in viscosity and deep amber, or light, in color. When the oil is distilled in a cast iron vat, the oil is thick in viscosity and a deep brown, or dark, in color. The scents remain similar.
USES OF PATCHOULI OIL
The uses for Patchouli Essential Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal and odorous to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, and sprays, to name a few suggestions for homemade products.
When diluted and used topically in cosmetic products, Patchouli Essential Oil provides skin with many benefits such as a complexion that looks vibrant and feels healthy and smooth. It is used to slow the look of aging by tightening and toning the skin, thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes. 1-2 drops of the oil can be mixed into a skin care product of personal preference and used to moisturize problem skin that is blemished or wrinkled. Used as a massage balm, 1-2 drops of Patchouli Essential Oil can be diluted with a carrier oil such as Fractionated Coconut Oil before being applied to the body. It is beneficial for all skin types and can also be massaged into the face to relieve dryness or to balance oily and acne-prone skin. For the faster healing of scars, wounds, or blemishes caused by measles, pox, or acne, 5 drops of Patchouli Oil can be added to a face wash or a face cream to minimize the appearance of unwanted marks. This oil is also known to strengthen hair and it can be applied to the scalp by diluting 5 drops in a hair conditioner.
Used in aromatherapy, the mood-enhancing fragrance of Patchouli Essential Oil is inhaled and scent receptors in the brain’s emotional powerhouse process the smell as grounding and emotionally balancing, allowing the brain and body to relax with the calming down of emotions. Similarly, 1-2 drops smoothed onto a pillow may reduce insomnia and promote the faster onset of deeper sleep by reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality. Diffusing 3-4 drops of this anti-inflammatory oil can also reduce fevers and colds by eliminating infectious bacteria, thus reducing body temperature and the pain commonly associated with illness. When diluted and applied topically to the hands, neck, stomach, or temples, Patchouli Essential Oil can offer a cooling sensation that will also reduce feverish body temperatures. When diffused during spiritual practices, it can be used on its own or in blends during prayer and meditation to enhance concentration and to feel a stronger mystical connection.
Patchouli Essential Oil acts as a natural perfume and an air freshener that creates a relaxing atmosphere, especially for the bedroom. Its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties make it beneficial for use in natural cleaning products. A spray cleaner can be made by blending 10 drops of Patchouli Essential Oil with 10 drops of Orange Essential Oil and diluting the blend in a 16 oz. (470 ml) bottle of warm water. This can be used to clean any surfaces including counters, walls, and floors.
A GUIDE TO PATCHOULI OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS
|PATCHOULI VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME||COUNTRY OF ORIGIN||BENEFITS OF OIL|
|Patchouli Essential Oil (Dark)
|Patchouli Essential Oil (Light)
|Patchouli Organic Essential Oil
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR PATCHOULI OIL
As per NAHA guidelines, New Directions Aromatics (NDA) does not recommend the ingestion of essential oils. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Patchouli Essential Oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women and those taking prescription drugs are especially advised not to use Patchouli Essential Oil without the medical advice of a physician. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.
The aroma of Patchouli Essential Oil, though sweet and often alluring, may be considered too powerful and long-lasting for some and thus unpleasant, irritating, or overstimulating. The strength of its scent means that it can be used sparingly and still be therapeutically beneficial. The sedative properties of Patchouli Oil can alter energy levels. Individuals who are recovering from illnesses or who suffer from eating disorders should avoid using Patchouli Essential Oil, as it can cause a loss of appetite.
When applied topically, Patchouli Essential Oil should be used in dilution and in small amounts, as using the oil directly or in high concentrations can potentially cause skin irritation. A skin test is recommended prior to use. This can be done by diluting the essential oil in a carrier oil and applying a small amount to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Once applied topically, sun exposure should be avoided, as the oil may sensitize the skin to UV rays. Patchouli Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.
New Directions Aromatics Inc.
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