Patchouli Essential Oil can be a very divisive oil whereby some people love it and some people loathe it. Often, I have found that varies quite a lot with the age of the person and how much of it was being used or diffused in the room. Certainly, Patchouli incense can completely overpower a room and make some people feel nauseous. For others, it is a mental link with being back in the 60’s where it seemed to pervade a decade. That may have been a delightful trip down memory lane or it may have dredged up memories you would rather not have to deal with.
So, let me tell you some more about Patchouli Essential Oil and the different types you can get and the very completing reasons that you would want to use it in your skincare products – just make sure it is used in the right proportions.
It has a very good safety profile and the only caution really is to be careful not to use too much, just because of the strong aroma of the oil. Patchouli Essential Oil smells like a very woodsy and earthy, intense aroma with a spicy note involved. A lot of people associate it with joss sticks, but with joss sticks, you are also smelling the bamboo stick itself burning which is not so pleasant as the aroma of the essential oil.
The oil is reddish brown to dark brown and reasonably thick but still pourable. Be careful that you don’t let oil dribble down over the neck of the bottle as it can make the lid hard to remove later on!
The leaves of the Patchouli plant are picked and then fermented to develop them. They are then steam distilled to produce the wonderful oil. Different fermenting times, different growing conditions and different countries all make differences to the final product and you can also get a lighter version. Sometimes, in a cream, you can find that the surface of the cream starts to turn pinkish. This is the iron oxide from the Patchouli Oil distillation unit and is, in effect, rust. It’s better to get oil that has been distilled in a stainless steel distillation unit.
In the Victorian era in the UK, it became very fashionable for wealthy ladies to wear cashmere shawls made of cashmere. These were made in India and when they were shipped over, they had Patchouli leaves packed in with them to keep the insects away from the valuable fabric. As such, the fragrance of Patchouli started to be associated with luxury and quality and perfumers started using it more in their fragrance creations. Even ink was scented with Patchouli. Imagine how lovely it must have been to receive a fragranced letter!
Patchouli Oil for skin
It tones up your skin and tightens it which reduces pore size and helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It’s excellent for all skin types and can be used in creams, lotions, serums and gels. It gently helps to restore normal skin function and hydration in your skin.
It’s an excellent oil for repairing damaged skin – even scar tissue. It speeds up healing, especially when blended with Tamanu Oil. Don’t forget that ageing skin is a form of damaged skin so this is a great oil for anti-ageing products.
If you have had chapped skin from the cold or cracked skin from using so much hand sanitizer gel, Patchouli Essential Oil is a seriously good aromatherapy oil to use. It’s wonderfully effective when blended with Calendula Oil and, because Patchouli is antifungal and antibacterial, it is excellent to use in a foot cream or hand cream.
It’s a really calming aromatherapy oil that is soothing on irritated skin like eczema and also acne skin. It is even better when blended with Fragonia™.
If there is an ingredient in the creams that you are making that smells a little strong but you still want to use it (some preservatives are a bit smelly!), then adding Patchouli Essential Oil will mask that smell. For that reason, it is a great deodorant and can be included in body washes and soaps as well.
Patchouli Oil for hair
This is a great oil to include in shampoos, especially if you have been somewhere smoky and want to deodorize your hair. It will also help to regulate the sebum production in a greasy scalp. Of course, it’s ideal in a body wash as well – it’s great blended with Lavender and Geranium! Another great body wash blend is Patchouli, Cedarwood and Lavender.
Other ways to use Patchouli
For me, the most often reason I used this oil in my Naturopathic career was to help lift anxiety and depression. It just feels like a great weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Who doesn’t want some of that? It gives clarity and helps stop the mental chatter with anxiety. It’s brilliant for people who have taken on more than they think they can cope with. So often, I saw this with carers, and carers need care as well!
It’s a good insect deterrent. If you have already been bitten, it will soothe the sting but use it in a diffuser to keep insects away in the first place. It’s reported to be a good aphrodisiac as well so that might make your outdoor lunch parties a bit more lively!
How to use Patchouli Essential Oil in a diffuser
An aromatherapy diffuser is the best way to fragrance your home. Oil burners can run dry or be knocked over by pets or children. An aromatherapy diffuser pulls the aromatherapy oils right out of the bottle by sonic vibration. This way, the Patchouli Essential Oil is not damaged by heat. A good machine also has settings so you can not only change the amount of oil being diffused but also time it to come on and off over a period of time. That way, you get a gentle hint of fragrance all day long without being overpowered by it – very important to bear in mind with this oil! They are usually USB charged and are safe as there are no naked flames. Even so, keep the unit out of reach of children and please read safety warnings for the essential oil you are diffusing to make sure it is safe for anyone in the house as well as pets. This is a good one here
All essential oil have best before dates on them and some degrade quicker than others. Grapefruit Oil starts to lose its impact after a few months, for example. However, Patchouli is one of those rare oils that actually improves with age. It still has to legally have a best before date though. Back in the rear 2000, I bought a dozen bottles of the best Patchouli Essential Oil I could afford and hid them away. Obviously I did not hide them well enough as I started using them but I still have half a bottle of the last one that is over 20 years old – and it is a little piece of heaven for me as a perfumer! If you’re on an aromatherapy website and you need to get a little something extra in order to qualify for a free shipping offer, get another bottle of Patchouli and hide it!
Chemical profile of Patchouli Essential Oil
There has been a lot of research on Patchouli. The oil comprises between 50% to 70% sequiterpenes and these aroma molecules are pretty powerful! They are very anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antispasmodic. Add to the the fact that they calm and soothe the nervous system, Sesquiterpenes carry oxygen around the body just as your own haemoglobin does. There is a lot of work being done with Patchouli for some very serious ailments.
Esoteric Aspects and the 7 Chakras
Patchouli Essential Oil resonates with;
1st Chakra / Root Chakra and is reflective of your stability, connection to the Earth as well as financial and physical security
2nd Chakra / Sacral Chakra – this is about expressing your emotions and sexuality
3rd Chakra / Solar Plexus Chakra and connects to your personal power and self will. It’s also part of any transformation
7th Chakra / Crown Chakra which gives clarity and connection to the source. It is meditative, purifying, expansive and grounding.
Essential oils should not be used internally except by a doctor qualified in such an area. A reminder, as well, not to use aromatherapy oils undiluted. Always dilute them with a vegetable oil and use just a few drops to start with. Always read up first to check for contraindications and use safely.
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