what is patchouli - patchouli plants

What is patchouli?

While wellness trends are always evolving1, there’s one thing that’s still a given. We often all look for ways to take care of ourselves in the best possible way, and many of us regularly try out new self-care activities or revert back to tried-and-tested remedies.2 Essential oils are certainly not a new phenomenon. In fact, it’s thought that the ancient Messapotamians used them as far back as 5000 BC.Nevertheless, recent reports suggest that there has been an essential oil revival, as more of us look for natural healthcare products and plant-based remedies.4 Patchouli is one of our most-loved essential oils. It’s used to give fragrance to many of our favourite perfumes, beauty products, and cosmetics. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth adding patchouli to your wellness toolbox, we’ve got everything you need to know below.

What is patchouli?

Patchouli is a type of aromatic, flowering plant. It’s related to the mint family, and its official name is ‘pogostemon cablin.’ It’s the plant’s leaves that we use to get the oil, which are shade dried and then distilled.5 Patchouli oil has an intense smell, which is often described as strong, sweet, and intoxicating. It’s quite earthy, which is why it’s often used as a base note in perfumes and other fragrances. It blends very well with other essential oils and ingredients, making it popular for use in a wide range of products.6

Patchouli uses

Like we’ve mentioned above, patchouli can be used in a wide range of different ways. These may include:

  • In perfumes and fragrances
  • Cosmetics
  • Soaps and detergents
  • Aromatherapy
  • Topical application
  • In baths7
It’s usually not recommended that you ingest or consume patchouli oil, as this could have serious side effects.8

Benefits of patchouli

Patchouli oil has been used for centuries and has a range of reported benefits. Some of these might include:

  • Skin health9
  • Anti-fungal properties10
  • Anti-bacterial properties11
It’s worth bearing in mind that natural remedies aren’t always effective and can be harmful if misused.12 Before using, if you have any health concerns when using Patchouli oil at home then it is highly recommended to consult a doctor or healthcare professional.

Potential risks

Patchouli oil is generally thought to be safe for use on the skin or inhaled when diluted.13 Remember, though. Never apply pure essential oils directly to your skin without a carrier oil and never consume essential oils. This could cause skin irritation or other serious side effects.14 It’s worth consulting your doctor if you want to try this essential oil. It may not be right for you if you are on a particular medication, have a health concern.  Shop Natural Beauty

Expertly reviewed by:

Last updated: 8 December 2020

Related Topics

AromatherapyNatural Beauty
Manisha Taggar

Manisha Taggar,
Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: May 2019

BSc Hons in Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Science

Manisha started her career at a Cosmetics distributor as a Regulatory Technologist followed by a Regulatory Affairs Officer, ensuring the regulatory compliance of cosmetic products from colour cosmetics to skincare.

After 3 and half years in this role, Manisha joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.

Manisha specialises in Cosmetic products, both own-label and branded lines, ensuring that these products and all relating marketing material comply to the EU Cosmetics Regulation.