Today’s featured essential oil has become a favorite of mine over the years.
It has grounding qualities that can help stabilize and assuage an overactive mind,
thus helping prevent mental burnout.

Essential Oil of Patchouli
Pogostemon cablin

I found this great photograph of a patchouli plant on
Danielle’s Garden Blog.
(Here’s a fun post she wrote called How to Grow Patchouli)

My Personal Relationship with Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli has a very distinctive aroma that people either love or hate.  For years I was in the latter category.  I couldn’t stand the aroma.  Then the circumstances of my life changed.  One day I discovered that not only could I tolerate the aroma of patchouli, but I enjoyed it!

Why did I rebuke the oil in one life and embrace it in another? I have no idea. However, I do believe that we, as intuitive beings, are drawn to the oils that offer what we need at certain times in our life.

The Foundations

Geographical Sources: Patchouli is native to tropical Asia, especially Indonesia and the Philippines.

Extraction: Steam distillation of the dried leaves.

Characteristics: Patchouli is a heavy, rich essential oil with a dark amber color. The aroma is sweet and earthy with a real staying power, so a little goes a long way! The fragrance is one of those rare aromatics that will improve with age. A young Patchouli, freshly distilled, smells more green and sour than when a few years in the bottle. I have several bottles of vintage Patchouli more than 20 years old and each are incredibly rich and mellow. Before using this essential oil on a client or in a blend for others, keep in mind that many people do not like the aroma of this oil, so ask before adding it to their blend or gifting it.

Chemical Families:  Sesquiterpenes and Sesquiterpenols

Safety:  Nontoxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing.

Therapeutic Properties:

  • Alleviates inflammation
  • Kills bacteria
  • Reduces stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Used in blends for skin conditions such as dryness, inflammation, scars, and sores.
  • Energetically balancing for an overactive mind and for nervous strain.

 Some Suggested Applications:

  • Add to any blend for an antidepressant effect.
  • Use in a blend of Aloe vera gel for weepy eczema or in cream as a skin moisturizer.
  • Add to any massage carrier oil for soothing an overactive mind and to encourage sleep.
  • Put about 5 drops on your natural incense to repel insects

Blends well with these essential oils:  Cistus, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Geranium, Lavender, Rose, Bergamot, Myrrh

A Recipe Using Patchouli Essential Oil:

Insect Repellent
4 drops Patchouli Essential Oil (Pogostemon cablin)
5 drops Cedarwood, Virginia Essential Oil (Juniperus virginiana)
3 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
4 drops Geranium Essential Oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
2 drops Vetiver Essential Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides)
2 oz Organic Aloe vera gel
2 oz spray bottle
Directions: Add the essential oils to the 2 fl oz spray bottle then fill up with the Aloe vera gel. This recipe is safe to spray on your skin.

Subtle Properties (vibrational and energetic)

Patchouli is an important oil in the energetic realm because it strongly resonates with our base chakra which grounds and strengthens the will to live. This oil opens the chakras in the feet and draws energy from Mother Earth.

According to Joni Keim, Patchouli resonates with the following chakras:

  • Base (1st): Strengthens and ground this energy center, relieving deficiencies in the base energy center. Reattaches the physical body with subtle bodies.
  • Sacral (2nd): Spiritualizes sexuality. Facilitates enjoyment of the senses and awakening of creativity.
  • Third Eye (6th): Relaxes a tense, over-active intellect.
  • Feet Centers: Opens feet centers to connect with a draw earth energy.

Two Personal Patchouli Stories:

1. I once used Patchouli on the arm of a massage client who has twice-weekly dialysis and her arm is thick with scar tissue. I used a 1% blend on her arms and used gentle circular friction on her keloids to help break them down.

2. My husband and I both like the aroma of Patchouli and find it relaxing, so I will often add a capful of Patchouli essential oil to the rinse cycle when washing our bedsheets. Even after the sheets have been in the dryer, the linens contain a gentle version of the fragrance. If I forget to add it to the rinse cycle, I’ll sometimes dab it on an old dryer sheet and toss it in during the cooling cycle of the dryer.

The Hippie Connection: Patchouli was the scent of the psychedelic 1960s and early 1970s. It was used to help cover the tarry scent of marijuana. It has a strong memory association for me with the “head shops” of that time period. A few years ago I was asked to give a talk on aromatherapy to the employees of Allenwood Federal Prison. There were several speakers that day and the audience consisted of office staff, guards, and the Warden.  I received the usual questions about essential oils, but when I got to Patchouli and mentioned this bit of trivia about it masking the aroma of marijuana, the guards became very attentive and full of questions. Apparently many of the inmates like Patchouli oil!

My Patchouli Aromatic Wisdom Insight Card™:

  • I am one who harmonizes the earth element with your mind, mentally grounding you and bringing you back to your feet.
  • I am one who invites sensual pleasure.
  • I am one who is steeped in ancient cultures of the East.
  • I am one whose rescues you from the nervous strain and mental overload of your own overactive mind.


1. Battaglia S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2003
2. Davis P. Aromatherapy an A-Z. New revised edition C.W. Daniel Company Limited, England, 1999
3. Keim, J. Daily Aromatherapy,  North Atlantic Books, USA 2008
4. Keville, K. Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, The Crossing press, USA, 1995
5. Mojay G. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Henry Holt and Company Inc., England, 1996
6. Price S. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 2nd edition, Churchill Livingstone, 1999
7. Schnaubelt K. Advanced Aromatherapy, The Science of Essential Oil Therapy, Healing Arts Press, USA, 1998
8. Tisserand R. The Art of Aromatherapy, Healing Arts Press, USA, 1977

This blog post was updated for accuracy and relevance on June 6, 2023
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