Patchouli Essential Oil

Have you ever smelled patchouli essential oil? It certainly takes some getting use to. The smell just isn’t for everyone. But when you look at the benefits of patchouli oil, you’ll realize it really is something special.

So without further ado, let’s see the properties, uses and benefits of patchouli essential oil.

Patchouli essential oil

Patchouli Essential Oil Properties


The botanical name for patchouli is Pogostemon cablin. Check for this name when buying the oil.

Color & Smell of patchouli essential oil

Patchouli essential oil smells strong, earthy and musky. And its color ranges from yellow to dark brown.

Because its scent is so strong, I highly recommend smelling the oil before buying it.

What’s in the oil?

Patchouli essential oil contains many unique compounds including patchoulol or patchouli alcohol, which can make up about 40% of the oil, pogostone (20%), alpha-bulnesene (5%), caryophyllene (5%), seychellene, alpha-patchoulene, beta-patchoulene, norpatchoulenol, eugenol, alpha-guaiene and pogostol.

These compounds are responsible for the many patchouli essential oil benefits which we will get into now.

Patchouli Essential Oil Benefits

The health benefits of patchouli essential oil include:

  • kills cancer cells in vitro
  • gets rid of free radicals
  • may prevent skin damage from sunlight
  • kills bacteria and fungi
  • kill and repel bugs

Here’s more.

It may have anticancer benefits

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Evidence for patchouli’s possible anticancer benefits can be found in this 2013 study. The in vitro study was aimed at investigating whether or not patchoulol affected the growth and death of human colorectal cancer cells. Interestingly enough, the study found the compound suppressed the growth of the cancer cells and induced cellular death.

These are amazing results. But here’s the thing. This was an in vitro study, meaning it was done in a lab. It’s not a clinical trial. So that’s why we can only say patchoulol or patchouli essential oil MAY have possible anticancer benefits.

It is antioxidant

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A 2011 study explored the radical scavenging and antioxidant activities of lavender, melissa, patchouli and sage essential oils using three different tests. All the oils including patchouli showed appreciable antioxidant effects.

It may help against photo-aging

This is an interesting benefit of patchouli essential oil. It may protect skin from problems associated with UV radiation.

Take a look at this 2014 animal study. The study used patchouli essential oil on the skin of test mice two hours before exposing them to UV radiation. The results showed that using patchouli significantly prevented wrinkles from forming and helped with skin thickness, collagen content and skin elasticity issues. But that’s not all. The oil also prevented collagen and elastic fiber damage.

What does this mean? Well, patchouli essential oil may help to reduce or prevent damage to the skin when it is exposed to sunlight or UV radiation. We must remember, however, this is an animal study. So we don’t know if patchouli will have the same or similar results when applied to our skin.

It is antibacterial

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Here is a definite benefit of patchouli essential oil. It is antibacterial! And there are quite a few studies that prove it. Consider these two:

A 2011 study tested the antibacterial activity of six essential oils (rosemary, melissa, sage, lavender, thyme, and patchouli) against pathogenic and food spoilage bacteria. The results? All the essential oils had inhibitory effects on the bacteria. But thyme was the most potent oil.

Similar results were found in this 1999 study. For this one, patchouli showed only moderate antibacterial benefits. So it isn’t among the most potent antibacterial oils out there.

It’s antifungal

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Patchouli essential oil might have stronger antifungal benefits than antibacterial. And this 2013 study can help prove this. The study tested three essential oils on fungal strains of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus oryzae. The findings showed patchouli inhibited the fungi at low concentrations of 0.15%. That’s not bad at all!

It is ideal against insects

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This is probably the most well-studied benefit of patchouli essential oil. It really is very effective against insects.

A 2016 study tested cedarwood, citronella (Ceylon), clove, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, patchouli, rosemary and tea tree essential oils against the female Culex pipiens mosquito. The effects were also compared with the common insecticide, DEET. The results showed all the essential oils except for cedarwood were more effective than DEET!

Another study published in 2015 looked at the insecticidal and repellent activities of patchouli against the German cockroach (Blattella germanica). The oil was found to be very effective even at concentrations of 0.0005%! The study also found the compound pogostone was more toxic to the cockroaches than patchoulol and caryophyllene.

Similar results were also shown against three species of urban ants at concentrations between 0.01% and 1%.

And houseflies were not to be spared. This 2008 study explored the insecticidal activity of 34 essential oils (including basil, geranium, marjoram, oregano, patchouli and pennyroyal) against the housefly, Musca domestica, under lab conditions. Patchouli was the most efficient essential oil at killing the flies.

That’s pretty awesome!

Patchouli Essential Oil Uses

Patchouli really has some exceptional benefits so let’s get into ways to use the oil.

Remember patchouli has a very unique smell that isn’t for everyone. If it is for you then you can add a few drops to your diffuser for a unique, musky smell.

Patchouli blends well with sharp, citrusy oils too. So you can always mix in bergamot, clary sage, orange, geranium, and myrrh essential oils to your diffuser.
You can also apply patchouli essential oil to your skin. Blended, of course! But before you do always patch test the oil to make sure you are not sensitive to it. To do this simply add 3-4 drops of the essential oil to 1 teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil (like jojoba or apricot kernel oil). Then dab a little of the blend to the back of your ear and inside of your elbow. Monitor the areas for several hours.

If they burn or get red or itchy, wash them immediately. You could be allergic. If you do not experience any changes, however, then you’re good to use the oil on your skin. Blended, of course!
Bug Spray
You have seen how powerful patchouli essential oil is against bugs like ants, flies, and cockroaches. So why not make your own homemade bug spray with the oil. You can add about 10-15 drops of patchouli oil and 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil to a small spray bottle. Fill the bottle up with water and shake well. And then spray! Don’t forget to add other repellent oils too like citronella and peppermint.

Note, if you leave the bug spray for a while, it will separate into an oil layer and water layer. So the next time you use it, don’t forget to shake it properly.
More Precautions
Please talk to your doctor before using patchouli essential oil. This is especially important if you are pregnant or suffer from any serious illnesses.

Where to buy patchouli essential oil?

1 comment
  1. I love patchouli and wear it as perfume. Its amazing. Keeps you grounded also.

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