Pogostemon cablin leaf oil (Patchouli) is a member of the mint family but it actually has a cedar-like smell. It grows naturally in Asia.
The aroma of Patchouli:
Patchouli’s scent has made it a popular ingredient in perfumes. In fact, according to Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine, Patchouli combines so well with other scents that it is used in at least a third of all perfumes and fragrances.(1) It was even used to add scent to an action figure. (2)
The leaf itself is put into clothing to repel insects. Unless you live in Asia, good luck finding a leaf. Instead, use Patchouli Essential Oil. In a study that was looking for non-toxic mosquito repellents, 38 essential oils were used. Lemongrass, clove, and patchouli (when undiluted) were “the most effective and provided 2 h of complete repellency.” (3)
Patchouli & Skin:
According to Eyewitness Handbook: Herbs, Patchouli “is used in aromatherapy to regenerate skin cells and treat acne, eczema, athlete’s foot, and cracked skin.” (4)
Possible Antibacterial Properties:
In a study entitled “Evaluation of the antibacterial activity of patchouli oil” it was concluded that “Molecular docking technology and antimicrobial test in vitro proved that patchouli oil had strong antimicrobial effects. Particularly, pogostone and (-)-patchouli alcohol have potent antimicrobial activity.” (5)
The oil is extracted from the leaves through steam distillation.
- Never apply an essential oil directly to the skin. Always use a carrier oil, such as coconut or almond oil, with topical application.
- To encourage safe doses with children, dilute the essential oil and use it in an air diffuser. Use small doses and never use around children with respiratory diseases like asthma.
- Never ingest essential oils without consulting a health-care professional.
1: Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine by Steven Foster, Rebecca L. Johnson
4: Eyewitness Handbook: Herbs by Lesley Bremness – First Edition