Learn About Patchouli

Learn About Patchouli

It’s the oil that you either love or hate, the one that’s associated with the ‘60s, and as Sylla says, the oil that’s “an old hippie scent.”

One of the first of Sylla’s discoveries, it is her known favorite. Join Sylla on this earthy, woody adventure as she explores Patchouli.

In this video you’ll learn more about:

  • The chemistry of the oil
  • The therapeutic properties of the oil
  • What Patchouli can do for your skin
  • How its distillation process differs from other oils 

(This is a sneak peak at what you’ll find in our Essential Oil Explorations each month in the Atlantic Aromatic Library Membership)

Here is a profile for Patchouli, to follow along with on the video or to read on your own.

Patchouli Exploration

Common name: Patchouli
Botanical name: Pogostemon cablin

Part of the Labiatae family, Patchouli is a hardy, leafy plant. It is perennial, and it originates in Indonesia and the Philippines. Most of the world-production of Patchouli is from North Sumatra. The plant prefers warm, moist, well-drained conditions.

The leaves and flowers of the Patchouli plant are picked and soaked in water before distillation. Unlike other plants that are quickly distilled, Patchouli must first be fermented, and then it has a long distillation process. Eucalyptus and Lavender may take about an hour to distill, whereas Patchouli takes approximately six to 24 hours. Quite the difference!

Chemically, Patchouli is made up of lots of little components. The dominant molecule family is sesquiterpenes alcohols, with up to 45% sesquiterpene alcohols present in the oil. The sesquiterpenes are what make the oil have the soothing, calming, anti-inflammatory properties we all enjoy.

Patchouli is an antidepressant and anti-inflammatory. It is also antimicrobial and antibacterial, and it can help with things such as staph and strep. It is also great for the skin, as it helps regenerate skin cells, and it is especially good for older tissue. Patchouli can help with things like acne, scars, and wrinkles.

Like a fine wine, Patchouli ages well. The odor is rich, intense, earthy, and woody—a result of the Patchouli alcohol. In perfumery, Patchouli is often a part of chypre (characterized by citrus, cistus, and oakmoss notes) fragrances.

You can see the variety of Patchouli’s color in this video. Indonesian is dark and rich, almost like syrup. The Indian CO2 select is light and golden. The last sample (country of origin unknown) is very light in color, showing just how much variety can exist.

Tell us what you learned! How do you like to use Patchouli? Is it on your list of favorite also?

We hope you enjoyed the sneak-peak of our Patchouli exploration! 

Aromatically Yours,