You either love it or you hate it. Patchouli is musky, woodsy and earthy, and can trigger a strong aphrodisiac response in some people. However, if it’s not your “cup of tea,” don’t give up on patchouli just yet. When blended with other scents like ylang-ylang, bergamot and frankincense, it can be downright addictive. But beyond its appealing scent, patchouli also has some amazing health benefits that might just turn you into a patchouli fan for life.
Patchouli gets better with age
Patchouli gets better with age, making it a valuable commodity in perfumery. This earth scent has calming, grounding and centering properties that work on both the body and the mind. Generally used as a base scent, it provides warmth for lighter scents. Avoid synthetic versions though. The overpowering aroma could turn you off patchouli for good. Quality patchouli essential oil is distilled from mature leaves that have been properly dried and stored for distillation.
But there’s more to patchouli than just scent. Its medicinal properties soothe, sedate, protect, deodorize and stimulate. This “love it” or “hate it” fragrant oil can be inhaled, diffused in a vaporizer or applied directly to skin. Inhaling the scent of patchouli oil or absorbing it through the skin helps transmit messages to the limbic system, a region in the brain that’s involved in controlling emotions and even influences the nervous system. Here’s what a little bottle of patchouli can do for you…
1. Patchouli helps fight depression
When you’re feeling blue, patchouli can fight depression. It helps relieve feelings of sadness or loss and will renew feelings of hope. That’s why patchouli essential oil is so often used in aromatherapy. It’s thought to uplift the mood, eliminate disappointment and relax tension. By stimulating the release of pleasure hormones like serotonin and dopamine, feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness simply disappear.
2. It prevents the spread of bacteria
One of the more important health benefits of patchouli is its antimicrobial properties that can stop the spread of microorganisms. An Asian study evaluated the antibacterial activity of patchouli oil. It was tested against five very good antibacterial drugs commonly used to treat infections. The antimicrobial test proved that patchouli oil had strong antimicrobial effects the prevent the spread of bacteria. Use it to treat athlete’s foot or acute inflammation caused by a wound.
3. It works as an aphrodisiac
It’s not surprising that such an earthy and sensual scent would have aphrodisiac qualities. Used for hundreds of years to relieve frigidity and impotence, patchouli is a powerful “attraction” oil. According to The Soulmate Experience, patchouli stimulates the sex glands, thus increasing libido and sexual response. It’s a mildly sedative oil that slows breathing when used in aromatherapy. In fact, it’s one of the most relaxing, grounding and earthy scents in aromatherapy. But a little goes a long way. So, use it sparingly, as too much may leave your senses overstimulated, and may even leave you feeling agitated.
4. It can be used as a deodorant
Again, a little goes a long way when it comes to using patchouli as a deodorant. The strong sweet, spicy and musky aroma of this oil eliminates or masks body odor. Put two to three drops on a cotton ball and dab it on your underarms. Or, dilute it with a carrier oil such as almond oil.
5. It’s an insect repellent
It may seem strange that a scent famous for its use in perfume, soaps, candles and even deodorant can also be used as an insect repellent. Traditionally, the patchouli leaf itself is put into clothing to repel insects. But, unless you live in Asia, it may be hard to find a patchouli leaf. Use patchouli essential oil instead. One study from Thailand researched 38 essential oils as a non-toxic solution for a mosquito repellent. Patchouli was one of the most effective repellents, providing two hours of complete mosquito repellency.
6. It treats scars
Patchouli essential oil helps speed the healing process of cuts and wounds. It also speeds the fading of scars. Additionally, it’s effective against scars left by boils, acne, pox and measles. Rub two to three drops of patchouli essential oil directly onto your scars daily. Soon you will see them disappear for good.
7. It works as a metabolic tonic
Patchouli oil can help to tone your liver, stomach and intestines, increasing your ability to digest food and absorb nutrients properly. Because of these benefits, patchouli oil can give you more energy and also help your body to function better. Inhale patchouli oil with an oil burner or diffuser. Alternatively, you can add one to two drops into a cup of tea or a glass of water.
8. It restores sagging skin and strengthens the hair
Patchouli oil promotes muscle contractions. Therefore, it can help prevent sagging skin. It also regenerates new skin cells, which keeps the skin looking young, healthy and vibrant. Ideal for all skin types, it will even work on acne prone skin because of healing and germ-fighting properties. Blend five drops of patchouli oil with your face wash or lotion, or you can massage the oil directly onto your skin. Just make sure to avoid your eyes. Alternatively, you can massage five drops directly onto your scalp to strengthen your hair.
9. It eliminates dandruff
Dandruff symptoms are not always easy to spot, according to the Mayo Clinic. White, oily looking flakes of dead skin sit in your hair and fall on your shoulders. Your scalp may also feel itchy and scaly. Malassezia, a yeast-like infection, lives on the scalps of most adults. For some people, it may irritate the scalp and cause more skin cells to grow. Patchouli is an effective antifungal. So just like it helps fungus on the feet, it can also help kill fungus on your scalp. Add two drops of patchouli essential oil into your shampoo or conditioner to treat dandruff and oily hair. Simply leave it on for two minutes before rinsing.
Just a little dab’ll do
Patchouli scent is long lasting. That means, use it sparingly! Although sweet and earthy scented, it may be too strong and unpleasant for some people. Personally, I love the exotic scent of patchouli. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s definitely worth a sniff.
— Katherine Marko