Patchouli Essential Oil Benefits & Uses

Patchouli essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the patchouli plant, which is an aromatic herb that belongs to the mint family. Its name comes from the Tamil language and means “green leaf.” Patchouli essential oil is extracted from the leaves and stem of the plant. It’s been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine to treat headaches, skin conditions, stomach issues, and other health problems. While many people use this essential oil for its intoxicating scent, there are many other patchouli essential oil benefits that make it worth using.

How is Patchouli Oil Used?

Patchouli is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. In Southeast Asia, it’s often used to help treat digestive issues, but it can also be used to help with fever, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, snake bites, and other health issues.

More than 140 compounds have been isolated from patchouli oil, including terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, phytosterols, and alcohols. Its primary components are patchouli alcohol and guaiene. It’s the patchouli alcohol that gives this oil its distinct scent.

Other components include patchoulene, seychellene, and pogostone.

Recent studies have found that patchouli has several biological activities, including analgesic, antioxidant, antiplatelet, aphrodisiac, antimutagenic, antidepressant, and more. 

Patchouli oil is traditionally used in aromatherapy. Its earthy, woody fragrance is relaxing and can help alleviate stress. Patchouli’s scent is so intoxicating that it’s often used in fragrances and cosmetics. 

Patchouli Essential Oil Benefits

There are many patchouli benefits for your skin and your overall health. From alleviating stress to killing bacteria, patchouli is a great addition to any essential oil collection.

Promotes Relaxation

patchouli essential oil benefits uses woman person in white knit sweater laying back and relaxing after using patchouli oil

Scent is a powerful thing. It can help you relax, ease stress and even help you drift off to sleep. That’s why essential oils are used in aromatherapy to help combat anxiety, depression, and stress.

Patchouli oil is one of the many essential oils that promote relaxation. One study found that a combination of patchouli, lemongrass, and Cananga oil significantly improved relaxation for participants.

Antifungal and Antibacterial Properties

Patchouli contains two components that researchers believe have antibacterial properties: patchouli alcohol and pogostone.

One recent study found that patchouli oil disrupted the biofilms of MRSA strains that are resistant to methicillin. 

Another study found that patchouli oil alone was able to inhibit the growth of P. aeruginosa and S. pneumoniae.

Patchouli oil may also have antifungal activity, according to recent research. One study found that patchouli was effective against C. neoformans

May Help Ease Inflammation

Patchouli oil may also help ease inflammation. In fact, studies have shown that patchouli oil has anti-inflammatory properties.

One study on mice found that compounds in patchouli oil decreased swelling in their ears and paws.

Another study involving cultured cells found that patchouli oil reduced the migration of certain types of immune cells.

In yet another study, rats with inflammatory bowel disease that were treated with patchouli oil had less damage and immune cell buildup in their colons.

May Ease Pain

Patchouli may be helpful in alleviating pain caused by inflammation. One 2011 rodent study found that patchouli extract reduced pain responses in several tests. Researchers believe it’s the oil’s anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate pain.

Combat Wrinkles

In the fight against fine lines and wrinkles, patchouli oil may be your secret weapon. In one 2014 study, mice were treated with patchouli oil for two hours before being exposed to ultraviolet rays. 

Researchers found that the mice treated with patchouli had increased collagen content and fewer wrinkles. 

Adding a few drops of this oil to your moisturizer or favorite serum may help you keep your youthful glow.

Potential Side Effects and Risks

Patchouli oil is natural and generally well tolerated by people. Unlike many other essential oils, it doesn’t often cause allergic responses or irritation when applied to the skin. Patchouli oil should never be applied directly to the skin. Be sure to dilute it with a carrier oil first. 

That being said, patchouli oil isn’t for everyone. It can affect blood clotting, so you should avoid using this oil if:

  • You have a bleeding disorder
  • You are taking blood-thinning medication
  • You have or will be undergoing surgery

Never ingest essential oils unless directed by your doctor.


For centuries, patchouli oil has been used as an aphrodisiac. Although there are no known studies backing this claim, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence. The musky-earthy scent of this oil has long been associated with sensuality. 

Many people find the scent to be arousing, but for others, the aroma is too strong and overpowering. 


Patchouli is well-known for its insecticidal properties, and many studies back this claim. 

  • One study found that, compared to other essential oils, patchouli was the most effective at eradicating house flies. 
  • Another study found that patchouli was effective at killing three types of urban ants.
  • One 2015 study looked at the effectiveness of several essential oils against two types of mosquitoes. Patchouli oil was the most toxic to the mosquitoes, although the oil was still less effective than commercial pesticides.

Patchouli Oil Uses

patchouli essential oil benefits uses dried flaky ground herbs on white granite counter with amber glass patchouli essential oil bottles laying on their side

The great thing about patchouli oil is that it’s versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.


Patchouli can be applied to your skin (diluted with a carrier oil) to help combat signs of aging and take advantage of patchouli benefits and antibacterial properties.

For use in skincare, a 1-5% dilution is ideal. Jojoba is a great carrier oil to use on your skin because it mimics sebum, your skin’s natural oil.


Patchouli oil is commonly used in aromatherapy because many people find the scent relaxing and calming. It can be used in a diffuser or steam inhalation for this purpose.

Make sure that you dilute the oil properly and take breaks every 30 minutes or so. Extensive exposure can lead to nausea, headaches, and dizziness. 

Final Word

There are a number of patchouli benefits for your skin and health. When properly diluted, it can be used topically or in aromatherapy. The plant’s pleasant earthy scent also makes it a great addition to essential oil blends. 

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