Aromatherapy 101: Patchouli

essential-OilAromatherapy. The word evokes a primal response in many people. We know that scent links memories for many people and for some, those scents can change bodily responses to various stimuli. Further, we know that essential oils have shown healing aspects through the years like lavender with burns or peppermint with digestive issues. For years I’ve been interested in scents and essential oils and dabbled with them on and off until finally I took the plunge to immerse myself in the world of essential oils and their benefits. Now I’m sharing some of what I learned with you.
There are many scents you will and won’t like. I’ve never been a huge fan of patchouli. Over time, I’ve learned to tolerate it, but when it’s blended with other scents, I do enjoy it immensely. However, some of the benefits of patchouli make it a potent essential oil to have on hand. Over time, it improves with age and doesn’t oxidize like other oils. Further, it’s a fantastic fixative in perfumes and it grounds scent blends to help them last longer. It is very helpful for most all skin types from dry skin to those with oily skin. Those with eczema often find skin care products with patchouli essential oil often helps them in the long run. Emotionally, patchouli is known to calm and ground- thus people have often used this oil for meditation and prayer use.

This is why I have a bottle in my collection and I enjoy using it with sweet orange, patchouli-oilgrapefruit, cedarwood, vanilla, benzoin, rosemary, and lemon essential oils. I admit that having it mixed with other scents and used as a secondary note helps me to enjoy it more. Plus, since it’s not the main note in anything I use– either as an inhalant, perfume, lotion, etc.– it makes it easier to use this lovely e.o. (essential oil) on a regular basis. One of my favourite blends is 15 drops of sweet orange, 4 drops of rosemary, 4 drops of patchouli, and 1 blob of benzoin. This with some perfumery alcohol makes a terrific perfume or mixed with with a carrier oil makes a terrific oil to help me not only feel revitalized but refocused on the task at hand.

As a safety note, make sure you don’t use this oil directly on your skin or ingest the oil. I know there are many out there who will say you can use essential oils “neat” which mean directly on your skin- however, unless they’re a trained aromatherapy professional or a medical professional, I wouldn’t recommend it. The only oil people normally use neat is lavender and only in the case of burns.

As for internal use, the only way to use these internally is under the care of a qualified physician, as they do in France. They undergo specialized training with aromatherapy, and only those who undergo the same training those do in France have that knowledge. Otherwise, there are few essential oils that can be used internally. These are known as GRAS– generally regarded as safe.

What are some of the fun things you can do with patchouli? Many people use it for making perfumes or massage oil as I provided above. Others use it with inhalers. One of my other favourite recipes is for an anti-aging facial toner.

Anti Aging Face Toner Recipe

4oz Witch Hazel
5 drops Carrot seed essential oil
5 drops Patchouli essential oil 
Mix ingredients in a plastic bottle. Apply to face with a cotton ball after washing.
Another recipe is for acne prone skin- a face mask with patchouli and honey. Mix one tablespoon of raw honey or Manuka honey with 2-3 drops of patchouli essential oil. Apply to face and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Use a warm washcloth to wipe off. Patchouli oil helps to reduce redness and and prevent wrinkles, chapped skin and acne.
Remember that patchouli isn’t just a scent for incense, but a useful essential oil which can reduce stress, help all skin types, and can help boost your energy as well. So give it a try.