Patchouli Oil – Aromatherapy Focus
Patchouli oil is often associated with the flower power movement of the sixties Patchouli oil certainly has a unique and evocative aroma.
Patchouli oil is a close relative of mint, lavender and sage and a member of the Labiatae family. The name itself is said to be derived from the ancient Tamil words ‘patchai’ and ‘ella’ meaning ‘green leaf’. Although it’s roots are said to be in Southeast Asia it is now grown all over the world from China to Hawaii. The oil which is usually light yellow to brown, is extracted via steam distillation from the lightly fragrant leaves and flowers of the plant. The leaves are handpicked, bundled and then partially dried in the shade. They are then fermented for a few days before the oil is extracted. However, you can also make a basic oil infusion at home using dried leaves.
The scent is quite earthy and musky with a sweet background aroma. Like a good wine Patchouli oil also gets better with age as the fragrance just gets even richer and stronger.
Patchouli oil has been used medicinally since ancient times as it has a wealth of benefits. It used to be so valuable early Europeans used to exchange a pound of gold for a pound of Patchouli oil. In modern day it is mainly used as a fragrance and in aromatherapy. One of the key benefits within aromatherapy is that the oil works great for people suffering from depression. It uplifts mood and also relaxes tension in people due to the positive effect inhalation of the oil can have on hormones and chemical reactions within the body and mind. The oil stimulates the release of serotonin and dopamine – pleasure hormones which can help with feeling of anxiety and sadness. It’s calming effect is very effective for relaxation and medication
Historically, Patchouli oil has been recognized for thousands of years for its insecticidal properties. It is frequently used in bug sprays, lotions and fumigants to drive away mosquitoes, flies and moths. Many people also mix the oil with water to wash bedclothes to get rid of bed bugs, fleas or lice – only a couple of drops of oil are needed as the aroma can become fairly overpowering. The reason it is used in many deodorants is because the strong, sweet aroma actually eliminates body odour.
Patchouli oil also have some pretty powerful medicinal benefits. Firstly, it reduces body temperature in cases of fever by fighting infection. It is an antiphlogistic and relieves inflammation and pain which in turn helps reduce any fever. The essential oil also helps protect wounds and ulcers from developing infections and becoming septic as well as being a fairly effective inhibitor of fungal growths.
Cosmetic benefits of Patchouli Oil
Lets now look at some of the great cosmetic benefits. As the oil has antiseptic properties it can be used to treat various skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema – not only does it heal the skin but it help prevent any further infection. The oil has anti aging properties as well making it a popular ingredient in skin care products. The oil helps with hydration reducing the visual impact of wrinkles and helping to keep skin healthy and young. You only need to add a few drops to your usual moisturiser to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, scars or problem areas.
Patchouli oil also has cytophylactic properties which means it stimulates the generation of new cells which in turn aids in preserving the health of the skin. It can also help boost energy levels by assisting in the production of red blood cells. By increasing the circulation, it also increases the oxygenation of organs and cells throughout the body, increasing their functionality and boosting overall metabolism.
If you are looking at giving the anti-aging properties of Patchouli oil a go, a brilliant product to try is CosMedix Cell I.D. This is a restorative serum that helps in the proliferation of healthy skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots, with Patchouli OIl as an active ingredient.
Here are a few alternative ways to use Patchouli Oil:
- Dab a few drops directly on the skin to soothe insect bites, cuts, scrapes and burns.
- Dilute with carrier oil and massage onto skin to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
- Put a few drops on a cotton wool ball and dab on your underarms to help with body odour.
- Add 1-2 drops to your normal shampoo to help reduce dandruff and oily hair.
- Apply a small amount to your wrists or bedsheets to keep away bed bugs and other pests.
- Add to a vaporizer or diffuser to inhale or even a few drops in a warm bath.
Patchouli oil has a long lasting, sweet yet musky aroma which may be too strong for some people so be cautious about using too much. Always test for skin sensitivity prior to use as it could lead to irritation. Keep out of your eyes, ears and nose. Like with most aromatherapy oils, research your brands carefully as not all oils are created equally.