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Patchouli Essential Oil - Indonesia

Pogostemom cablin

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Essential Facts

Notes & Use

Traditional Use of Patchouli - Indonesia

Patchouli is a tropical plant native to Asia, renowned for its numerous medicinal applications. It has antibacterial, antidepressant, and antifungal properties. It's also been used as an aphrodisiac, a substance that can help with gas problems (carminative), a substance promoting urine production (diuretic), a substance to stimulate menstruation (emmenagogue), a fever reducer (febrifuge), a general stimulant, and a tonic. Notably, patchouli has also been employed as an antidote for venomous snakebites and insect stings.
In Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient holistic healing system from India, patchouli is used to balance two of the body's energy types, or doshas: vata and pitta. Vata, associated with air and water, is involved in functions like blood circulation and waste elimination. Pitta, combining fire and water, controls metabolic systems, including digestion and temperature regulation. Thus, patchouli is utilized for conditions like inflammation, arthritis, cough, loss of appetite, and digestive disorders, which can be tied to imbalances in these doshas.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where patchouli is known as "guanghuoxiang", its medicinal uses date back to the Han Dynasty. The leaves, flowering spikes, and roots of the plant, all rich in essential oils and flavonoids, are used to treat a range of health issues. These include mood disorders, bacterial infections, fevers, malaria, headaches, colds, and coughs, as well as digestive and liver conditions. Recent Chinese studies have shown patchouli can have a cytotoxic effect, damaging certain cancer cells, and can prevent blood platelets from sticking together.
In various Asian medical traditions, patchouli is also used for conditions such as nervousness, bile problems, insufficient urination, menstrual pain, joint pain, and rheumatism.
Modern research corroborates these traditional uses and expands upon them. Scientists have found that patchouli extracts have potent antioxidant activity, which could be beneficial in diseases caused by oxidative stress.
It has also shown promise in treating pain, flu, sore throat, and inflammation of the middle ear. As such, the scientific interest in patchouli's potential medicinal uses continues to grow.


Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is a species of plant from the family Lamiaceae, commonly known as the mint or deadnettle family. It is native to tropical regions of Asia, and is now grown in various tropical regions around the world.
Patchouli is a perennial plant that grows to be about 2 to 3 feet tall. The plant prefers warm tropical climates and thrives in well-drained soils. It does not tolerate frost. It has soft, erect, hairy stems and its leaves are fragrant, especially when they're dried.
The leaves are broadly egg-shaped with the broader end at the base (ovate), 7–12 cm long and 4–6 cm broad. The plant produces small, pale pink-white flowers.
The leaves of the patchouli plant are used to produce patchouli oil, which is commonly used in perfumes, soaps, incense, and other products. Patchouli oil is known for its strong, earthy scent.
In terms of its botany, Patchouli is part of the angiosperms (flowering plants) and eudicots clade. Its flowers are bilaterally symmetric and the plant is considered a subshrub, with a combination of woody and herbaceous tissue.
Like many plants in the Lamiaceae family, patchouli plants have square stems, opposite leaves, and flowers that grow in spikes. They're also aromatic, due to the presence of essential oils in the plant tissues.

Energetic, Spiritual, and Emotional Qualities of Patchouli - Indonesia

  • Chakra Balancing and Psychospiritual Harmony: In the context of chakra work, patchouli is not only associated with the base or root chakra, but it's also said to harmonize the interaction among the 1st (root), 3rd (solar plexus), 4th (heart), and 7th (crown chakras). It's used to balance and stimulate these chakras, promoting a sense of stability, personal power, love, and spiritual connection. Patchouli is also thought to exert a clarifying effect on the mind, especially helpful for individuals who have experienced prolonged stress, which can be beneficial following a nervous breakdown or a history of seizures.
  • Grounding and Emotional Connection: Patchouli is believed to provide grounding for those who may have been emotionally neglected or who have become detached from their physical body's needs. By maintaining contact with one's feelings, patchouli may also aid in understanding and recalling dreams, enhancing one's introspective abilities.
  • Aura Cleansing: As part of its aura cleansing properties, patchouli is thought to help remove blockages and restore a smooth flow of energetic vitality, essential for overall well-being.
  • Prosperity and Abundance: In various folkloric traditions, patchouli is believed to encourage financial prosperity and material abundance when used in prayer ceremonies. Its effect in this regard might be an indirect result of its ability to increase positive thinking and openness to the possibility of success.
  • Protection: The protective energies of patchouli are also significant, shielding against negative influences or entities, and safeguarding an individual's energy or personal space.

Traditional Folklore

  • Asian Cultures: Patchouli originates from Southeast Asia, where it has been used for centuries. In India, it's associated with the god Shiva and is used in religious rituals. Patchouli is also traditionally used in Asian medicine for its wide array of health benefits. Newlyweds in some Asian countries would often find patchouli in their matrimonial beds as a symbol of love.
  • Middle Eastern Cultures: Patchouli was highly valued in the Middle East. The strong, distinctive scent of patchouli made it a popular perfume ingredient. It was considered a sign of wealth and luxury.
  • European Cultures: In the Victorian era in Europe, patchouli was used to protect valuable textiles from moths. Its distinct scent was also a way to determine the authenticity of oriental fabrics imported into England. Patchouli was widely used in perfumery and was considered a symbol of bohemian luxury.
  • African Cultures: In some African traditions, patchouli was used for its antiseptic properties to treat wounds and prevent infections. It was also used in incenses and perfumes.
  • American Cultures: In North America, patchouli gained popularity during the 1960s and 70s with the counterculture movement. It was associated with freedom, peace, and connection to nature. In South American folk medicine, it's used for its healing and protective properties.

Aroma-Chemistry of Patchouli - Indonesia

  • Patchoulol (patchouli alcohol): This sesquiterpene alcohol is the major component of patchouli oil. It has been extensively studied for its various therapeutic properties. Some of these include:
    • Antibacterial: It has been shown to be effective against a variety of bacteria, making it useful in preventing and treating bacterial infections.
    • Antiviral: Some studies have suggested that patchoulol has activity against certain viruses.
    • Anti-inflammatory: It may help to reduce inflammation, which can be beneficial in managing conditions that involve chronic inflammation.
    • Wound healing: Some research has shown that patchoulol can promote wound healing, likely due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • α-Guaiene: This sesquiterpene hydrocarbon found in patchouli oil has been studied for:
    • Antimicrobial: α-Guaiene has been shown to have antimicrobial properties against several types of pathogens, which can help prevent and treat infections.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Similar to patchoulol, α-guaiene also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Seychellene: This is another sesquiterpene hydrocarbon that contributes to the complex aroma of patchouli oil. Therapeutically, it has:
    • Antioxidant properties: Seychellene is known for its antioxidant activity, which means it can neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. This might help in reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
  • α-Patchoulene and β-Patchoulene: These are sesquiterpene hydrocarbons with therapeutic benefits such as:
    • Antimicrobial: α-Patchoulene, in particular, has been shown to inhibit the growth of certain types of bacteria.
  • Norpatchoulenol: Another sesquiterpene alcohol in patchouli oil, norpatchoulenol has:
    • Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects: Similar to patchoulol and α-guaiene, norpatchoulenol is reported to have both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.


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