This month's aromatherapy topic is patchouli. Patchouli can sometimes get a bit of a bad rap, but it is actually a very beneficial oil to have around. Patchouli has a very strong, earthy smell that can be difficult for a lot of people, so I would always recommend using this or any other essential oil sparingly. Remember, a little goes a long way. Patchouli is safe for topical use, so feel free to apply it directly to your skin. If you want to take it internally, make sure to buy a brand that is safe for consumption. Patchouli is safe to use during your second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Many people suggest avoiding essential oils altogether during the first trimester.
Health and Wellness
Patchouli oil can help to reduce inflammation from a fever and helps to reduce your body temperature.
Patchouli has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-septic properties, which makes it a great wound cleaner. It helps to clean a wound and protect you from fungal or bacterial infections. It can also help to reduce the inflammation caused by a wound.
If you are feeling nauseous, try putting a drop of patchouli oil on your arm or a pillow and inhale the aroma to ease your nausea.
Patchouli is a sedative, and can be very beneficial in treating high blood pressure.
Depression and Anxiety
Smelling patchouli oil triggers a release of certain hormones in the system that can decrease feelings of sadness, anxiety, or loss. Try using patchouli oil to lift your mood when you are feeling down, or to aid in treating depression.
If you have trouble sleeping, using a blend with patchouli oil in it is great for your bedroom. It has a very calming, sedative effect which can help you to release anxiety and calm your mind to sleep. You can diffuse it, or use it in a lotion. For insomnia, I would recommend combining patchouli with other oils that have sedative properties such as lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang, vetiver, or sandalwood.
Patchouli helps to improve your metabolic function, meaning that it helps your body to be more fast and efficient in absorbing nutrients from your food and processing it. Patchouli is is also what is known as a diuretic, which means that it helps you pee. This can help you to remove toxins from your system, improve your kidney function, and get rid of excess water weight. In order to use patchouli oil as a diuretic, it must be ingested. If you plan to ingest the oil, put a couple of drops in food or beverage, or fill a gel capsule with a few drops of the oil. ALWAYS make sure that the oil is safe to ingest. Not all brands are safe for consumption.
Try ingesting some of the oil as in the last section on weight loss to help ease symptoms of diarrhea.
As a fungicide, patchouli oil can help to cure fungal infections such as Athelete's Foot. Try putting a couple of drops on the affected area, or add it to a lotion if you are using it on a larger area.
Patchouli is commonly used as an aphrodisiac, and can help to treat common sexual concerns such as impotency, erectile disfunction, and decreased sexual desire.
Skin and Hair
Wrinkles and Aging Skin
Due to it's astringent properties, patchouli oil helps to tighten and tone the skin which can help prevent sagging. It can also tighten the gums which can help to keep your teeth from getting loose as you age. Patchouli oil also helps with build new tissue and skin cells, which means that it can help to keep your skin looking young and vibrant.
Patchouli is well known for covering up or getting rid of odors. For that reason, it is widely used in perfumes and colognes. Some people like to use the oil by itself as a deodorant by taking a couple of drops and rubbing it under their arms. You can also put a drop in each shoe to help with foot odor, or put a cotton ball with a drop of patchouli on it in your gym bag.
Because of it's ability to help build new tissue, patchouli is a great oil to put on scars to help fade their appearance.
Patchouli is often used as a treatment for common skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne. Try applying it directly to the skin, or adding it to your favorite lotion, cream, or oil.
Because it keeps your skin tighter as you age, patchouli oil can actually help to keep your hair from falling out. Patchouli is also a good way to get rid of dandruff problems naturally. Try adding it to your shampoo or conditioner, leave it in for a minute or two and rinse to get rid of dandruff. It will also make your hair softer.
Around the House
Above, I mentioned that patchouli oil is a fungicide which can help with treating fungal infections. This can apply to your housekeeping as well. Do you have mold problems? Try making a spray using water or vinegar (which is also a great mold killer). You can also combine it with other oils that kill mold such as lemon, tea tree, or lavender.
Patchouli is wonderful to have around if you have trouble with insects. Try using it in the rinse cycle when washing your sheets to keep insects out of your bed. You can also combine it with water to make a spray to use on yourself or your clothes. If you want to repel insects in a larger area, try using candles, or diffusing the oil.
Patchouli is a great laundry additive because of its ability to get rid of or mask odors. Try adding it to your rinse cycle when washing clothes that have a tendency to get smelly like your workout clothes.
The Best Ways to Use Patchouli Oil
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.