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What are the Benefits of Patchouli Oil?

PATCHOULI  Essential Oil

Pogostemon Cablin

Family: Lauraceae -a perennial bushy herb with hairy leaves and stems with white flowers and a hint of purple/or pink. Many grow up to three feet tall.

Patchouli is a thick, misty aroma oil. It is a grounding oil and is known to help improve the appearance of the skin. Patchouli oil works as an anti-depressant and helps to balance hormones. This oil can ease tension, relax the body, and is known as an aphrodisiac.

Found in Asia, Indonesia, Philippines, India, China, Malaysia, and South America. Distilled from dry leaves in Europe and USA.

Traditionally Patchouli is known for its scent in clothing and believed to prevent the spread of disease. China, Japan, and Malaysia use patchouli for colds, nausea, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Japan and Malaysia have used this herb for poisonous snakebites (Lawless, 1995).

Safety data on Patchouli oil states non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing. According to the Plant Therapy website, Patchouli can handle temperatures up to 212 F. Keeping in mind that steam distillation ranges 240-260 F.

Each oil consists of many active constituents (chemical makeup), I like to call them properties, that are unique to just that plant, tree, or shrub. Just like your DNA sequence is unique to you. Various parts of that plant (stem, leaves, bark, resin, flowers) are used in making the oil designed by nature for protection and growth. The location in the world where the plant is grown affects its therapeutic nature as well. The mixture of the chemistry of the plant gives it the aroma. There are several ways to extract the oil but mostly the oil is produced by steam distillation. This is known as the best method without harming active ingredients.

Virus and Germ fighting constituents

Patchouli oil contains 40% alcohol by nature. These alcohol constituents are pogostol, bulnesol, nor patchoulenol, bulnese, patchoulene, and others. This alcohol kills viruses and bacteria. It also inhibits oxidation. Alpha-bulbesene which is measured at 19% in patchouli oil fights viruses and inhibits platelets from grouping. Alpha-guaiene fights inflammation by measuring 15% in pure organic patchouli oil.

Below are evidential research findings on Patchouli oil, specifically patchouli alcohol (PA). A literature review of scientific studies listed the biological activities that patchouli oil has shown capable of producing such as immunomodulatory, antitumor, antioxidative, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, insecticidal, and other factors. Clinical applications of Patchouli oil are being considered (Hu et al., 2017). doi:10.1155/2017/4850612

If you wish to read the complete article, copy the DOI number or link into the address search bar.


Anti-viral effects of Patchouli Oil

  • Patchouli alcohol (PA) significantly inhibited the Influenza A virus in vitro and through Vivo analysis (Yu et al., 2019).  Intra-nasal administration improved rats’ survival and decreased pneumonia symptoms. The assay tests showed inhibition of different virus strains and may block infection by inactivating virus particles and interfering with the initial stages of absorption. doi:10.1186/s12985-019-1266-x
  • Diseases are carried by mosquitoes to animals and humans such as dengue fever, yellow fever, West Nile fever, Rift Valley fever, and Japanese encephalitis. Patchouli oil was used with silver nanoparticles to create eco-friendly pest control for mosquitos. This biopesticide was able to affect the larvae and pupae of the dengue and zika virus carried by the Aedes Albopictus mosquitos (Ga’al et al., 2018). doi:10.1080/21691401.2017.1365723


Immune System Effects of Patchouli Oil

  • Patchouli oil alcohol, tricyclic sesquiterpene, was isolated and purified to evaluate its effect on the modulation of the immune system in Kunming mice through macrophages phagocytosis, immune organ index, serum immunoglobulin level, and delayed-type hypersensitivity. The purity of patchouli alcohol was 99.3% and administered at 40 or 80mg/kg body weight. The treatment significantly decreased the delayed hypersensitivity. The results showed that Patchouli alcohol has immune system modulating properties by initiating a mononuclear phagocytic system, boosting humoral immune response while suppressing cellular immune response (Liao et al., 2013). DOI: 10.4314/tjpr.v12i4.18
  • A Patchouli oil study was conducted to analyze the effects in vitro and vivo of leukocytes’ behavior in the acute inflammatory response. The application of a high concentration of patchouli oil was able to affect leukocytes’ behavior that involved nitric oxide production and pro-inflammatory cytokines (Silva-Filho et al., 2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.biopha.2016.10.084


Anti-bacterial Effects of Patchouli Oil Alcohol

  • A medical biofilm made with patchouli oil was investigated by Radulescu et al. (2016). The bioactive coating is designed to kill microbials in wound infections and may be used in other soft materials for resistance to microbial colonization. doi:10.3390/met6050103  ttps://
  • Patchouli alcohol, tricyclic sesquiterpene, was evaluated in vitro and Vivo to kill the bacteria Helicobacter pylori usually found in the stomach. The amount of time and concentration of patchouli alcohol was determined by the kill rate. The bacteria’s adhesiveness, mobility, and inner structure were suppressed by patchouli alcohol. Patchouli alcohol was also successful at eliminating H pylori and gastritis while suppressing inflammatory mediators making it an immense potential for new drug growth (Xu et al., 2017).
  • Patchouli oil antimicrobial constituents were assessed with docking technology and in vivo against five bacterial enzymes and five antibiotics as target molecules. Patchouli oil had 26 compounds that showed antibacterial activity. The two compounds of patchouli oil that were dominant were (-)-patchouli and pogostone alcohol which showed strong antibacterial activity (Yang et al., 2013).
  • Patchouli was found to totally inhibit e. coli. Patchouli had 47.5% carvacrol and 15.2% p-cymene. Oils from different origins have different levels of active constituents as identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry testing by this research group in Taiwan (Lin et al., 2016). doi:10.1016/j.jfda.2015.12.006.

Anti-cancer Activities of Patchouli Oil

  • Kim and colleagues (2015) isolated a new chemical compound (cytosporone) from patchouli and tested it with two other known phenyl-ethanol compounds of patchouli. Although the test showed weak antibacterial activity, the two phenyl-ethanols showed significant cytotoxicity on four human tumor cells. doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2015.04.094
  • Patchouli alcohol was evaluated from the Pogostemon Cablin Benth plant, and known in Chinese medicine as Guang-Hou-Xiang. China has used this plant for many years to resolve dampness, improve appetite, arrest vomiting, and dispel summer heat. The researchers found that patchouli alcohol can hold antitumor ability against human lung cancer A549 cells in vivo and vitro. Patchouli alcohol was able to activate the caspase 3 and 9 inside the mitochondria causing cell death. Patchouli alcohol can inhibit the sample graft of tumors in vivo (Lu et al., 2016). doi:10.1155/2016/4567580


Anti-inflammatory effects of Patchouli Oil Alcohol

  • Chen et al. (2017) investigated β-patchoulene (β-PAE), a tricyclic sesquiterpene, on its anti-inflammatory activity on lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury in mice. Pretreatment of β-PAE was able to inhibit the increase of the anti-inflammatory immune markers, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β.  The researchers also noticed that β-PAE was able to activate antioxidant genes. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2017.07.001
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has increased in recent years. IBD is characterized by chronic relapsing intestinal inflammation. Patchouli oil was investigated for a possible therapeutic effect on TNBS-induced IBD rats. The results of this experiment showed that patchouli significantly alleviated colonic damage and decreased disease symptoms. Patchouli oil reversed the metabolic changes that are associated with TNBS-induced IBD in rats (Yu et al., 2017). doi:10.3892/etm.2017.4577


Anti-stress and Liver Protection Effects of Patchouli

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most chronic liver disorder worldwide according to Wu, et al. (2019). Patchouli alcohol was evaluated on steatosis in rats after they were fed a high-fat diet for 4 weeks. This study showed that patchouli alcohol was able to reduce cell stress and regulate low-density lipoprotein metabolism. PA also restores metabolism synthesis by increasing apolipoprotein secretion and adding the activity of microsomal triglyceride transfer proteins. doi:10.3389/fphar.2019.01134


Emotional and Mental Benefits of Patchouli oil

  • Patchouli alcohol (PA) has been investigated for its anti-depressant effects in chronic unpredictable mild stress. PA was able to reduce depressant-like behaviors, sucrose preferences, spontaneous exploratory capacity and reduce immobility time. PA was noticed to lessen the signaling of phosphorylation in the hippocampus. Synaptic degeneration and impaired autophagy play an important role in the progression of depression. PA was shown to inhibit autophagy, repair synapses, and restore autophagy flux in the hippocampus by activating mTOR pathways (Zhuo et al., 2020).
  • Depressionpedia website sited that inhaling patchouli oil can help release serotonin and dopamine that can make you feel better. Patchouli oil can help with your sleep and can also increase other hormones to help with low levels of estrogen and testosterone. Smelling patchouli aroma can calm your mind and induce relaxation.


To Your Health & Happiness,

Dr. Margie

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