Aromatherapy: Healing with Patchouli

The earthy, balmy aroma of patchouli remains a symbol of the psychedelic 1960s, associated with 'flower power' and relaxed sexuality.

Patchouli's highly tenacious, spicy aroma becomes sweeter as the harsher top notes evaporate to leave a rich velvet, musky scent. It is widely used in oriental perfumes and in incense and joss sticks, when it is often blended with jasmine and sandalwood.

Feelings of Warmth

Patchouli has a pronounced effect on the nervous system and is useful in treating stress and anxiety. It is also a valuable beauty oil for all complexions and its use improves the texture of mature and dry skins. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action heals acne, eczema and chapped skin an it is a tonic for scalp disorders.

Active Ingredients of Patchouli Oil

Patchouli's uplifting and balancing actions have been in use for centuries and are due to its fusion of alcohols and certain sequisterpenes.


The main alcohol is patchoulol, which helps to directly stimulate the nervous system.


It contains many different terpenes, including mycene, limonene, beta-caryophylleol and camphene. These have varied properties, but are all balancing and antiseptci.


Patchouli also contains traces of eugerol. This phenol, which is also present in clove and ylang ylang oils, contributes to patchouli's spicy, pungent odour.

Using Your Patchouli Oil

Patchouli imparts warmth and energy and it is an excellent choice for revitalising your skin, scalp and digestive system. You can also use it to refresh your home.

A Very Versatile Skin Oil

Patchouli is an effective treatment for skin disorders and makes a fragrant addition to facial blends and bath oils.

Cool and heal chapped and cracked skin by blending 3 drops each of patchouli, chamomile and myrrh oils with 20ml of calendula cream. Patchouli and chamomile's anti-inflammatory actions complement the cooling properties of myrrh and calendula.

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Create a nourishing moisturiser for all skin types by adding 2 drops of patchouli oil and 4 drops each of sandalwood and myrrh oils to 40ml sweet almond oil and 5ml of wheatgerm oil. Patchouli and myrrh stimulate new skin growth and sandalwood helps to soften the skin; wheatgerm provides valuable vitamin E.

For a deodorising morning shower, add 2 drops patchouli oil, 5 drops of bergamot oil and 2 drops of lavender oil to a handful of unscented shower gel. Patchouli deodorises, bergamot refreshes and lavender is antibacterial.

Soothe cracked lips by making a healing lip balm. Melt 8 teaspoons of shea butter in a basin over a pan of water. As it cools, add 5 drops each of patchouli and frankincense and 20 drops of lavender. Store in a glass jar and apply to the lips regularly.


Patchouli has been used in the orient for centuries as a repellent and disinfectant to preserve clothes and carpets.

aromatherapy tassels

Deter bugs on warm summer evening by adding 3 drops of patchouli oil and 5 drops of citronella oil to cloth strips and hanging them in front of a patio door.

For an effective carpet freshener, blend 10oz bicarbonate of soda with 10 drops of patchouli and 15 drops each of lemon and lavender oils in a plastic bag, shaking to mix. After a couple of days, sprinkle on the carpet and hoover after about an hour.

For an alternative to mothballs, add a couple of drops of patchouli to cotton wool and place in the back of your wardrobe.

Masculine Concerns

Patchouli's earthy, sensual scent is appealing to many men and its therapeutic properties are beneficial for many male concerns.

For relief from 'jock itch'. bathe the affected area with a bowl of water containing 2 drops each of patchouli and tea tree oil. Patchouli's anti-inflammatory action will give cooling relief and both oils will combat fungal infections.

Increase sexual energy with a sensual masculine massage containing 6 drops of patchouli oil, 5 drops each of sandalwood and spruce oils and 4 drops of vanilla oil in 55ml grapeseed oil.

For a fragrant shave and clear clean skin, rinse off shaving cream with warm water containing a couple of drops of patchouli oil.

For dry, sparse and thinning hair, combine 4 drops of patchouli oil and 5 drops of ylang ylang oil with 250ml of distilled water and 5ml of cider vinegar. Use as a rinse after shampooing.

Stimulating and Strong

Balance the mind and emotions with patchouli.

Aid mental concentration by adding 5 drops each of patchouli and clove oils and 10 drops of lemon oil to a room vaporiser. All three oils have stimulating properties and act to sharpen the mind.

For stress and mental exhaustion, relax in a hot steamy bath containing 5 drops each of patchouli and lavender oils and 3 drops of lemon oil blended with a teaspoon of grapeseed oil.

aromatherapy bathing

Promote clear thought with an aromatic room spray. Add 8 drops each of patchouli and geranium oils and 5 drops of cinnamon oil to 30ml of pure water. Store your mixture in a bottle with a fine mist spray.