While the musky scent of patchouli has been used for thousands of years for a wide variety of purposes, it became much more commonplace after the hippie movement of the sixties. But hippies aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the many healing powers of patchouli.
There are many possible uses for this essential oil, but here are 10 of my favorites:
Research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that patchouli was among the best essential oils at killing bacteria linked to acne, particularly in combination with sandalwood and cinnamon. Keep in mind that the oils are best diluted in coconut or other carrier oil for this purpose, particularly when using cinnamon oil, which can be too harsh for topical application.
ALLERGIES, SKIN IRRITATIONS (DERMATITIS) AND ECZEMA
In French Medical Aromatherapy, aromatherapists use patchouli essential oil to treat a wide variety of skin conditions, including allergic reactions, dermatitis and eczema. Dilute in a small amount of carrier oil before applying to the skin.
Research in The Journal de Mycologie Medicale found that patchouli combined with cinnamon demonstrated an ability to kill the biofilms linked to the fungus Candida albicans. Biofilms are the sticky secretions of microbes that enable them to proliferate and thrive. They are often behind infections that are difficult to eliminate so anything that helps to destroy the biofilms can be especially beneficial in the treatment of infections.
While patchouli oil has been approved by the FDA for use as a food additive, most brands of patchouli aren’t pure enough for internal use. It is not recommended to use patchouli or cinnamon essential oil internally unless you choose one that is FDA approved and states on the label “for internal use” and follow the instructions of a qualified health professional.
My grandmother managed a massive farm when she was alive. While there was always an abundance of food, there was also an abundance of flies. I think she may have spent a sizable chunk of her life with a flyswatter in hand. It’s too bad she didn’t know about patchouli’s natural insecticidal properties. In a study published in the journal Fitoterapia, researchers found that of the 34 essential oils tested, patchouli was the most potent insecticides against fly larvae. A few drops of patchouli essential oil in backyard ponds or other areas where there is standing water may be enough to reduce their numbers. Don’t use this method in areas where pets or other animals may drink the water.
Not just suitable for fungal infections like Candida, Asian cultures have incorporated patchouli for centuries in the treatment of a wide variety of infections and to take down fevers. Research in the Journal of Natural Medicines supports the traditional use after finding that patchouli has potent anti-viral activity against the flu (H1N1) virus. You can rub a drop or two of patchouli essential oil diluted in a small amount of carrier oil and rub on the chest or diffuse patchouli in the air according to the directions on your essential oil diffuser.
If you’re mosquito bait like me then you’ll want to know about patchouli’s proven ability to repel the nasty insects. A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that the combination of patchouli, citronella and clove completely repelled mosquitoes for 2 full hours, while other options tested were significantly less effective.
Due to its naturally relaxing properties, patchouli may be helpful for those who find it difficult to unwind or those who suffer from anxiety. According to research published in the Japanese Journal of Pharmacology, patchouli helped to relax the nervous system.
Research in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that patchouli both repels and is toxic to termites that come in contact with it.
While the research is still in its infancy, a study published earlier this year in the journal Phytomedicine found that a compound known as beta-patchoulene has a protective effect against the mucus membranes of the intestines, helping to protect the area from ulcers. Because the study is the first of its kind, you’ll want to discuss the possibility of using patchouli essential oil for this purpose with your physician prior to use.
WORRY AND OVERTHINKING
In Chinese Medicine, patchouli has a grounding effect on the body’s energy systems. It is believed to quell worry and overthinking by calming the mind and spirit. If you are someone who finds that your mind is always working, then you may find patchouli helps. Diffuse it in the air for this purpose.