Patchouli — its distinct and musky scent brings to mind the hippie-dippy seventies, the decade of flower power, bohemian frocks and counterculture. But patchouli has a much longer history that can be traced back all the way to ancient Egypt. And the Chinese have apparently been using the plant for thousands of years, both as a medicine and even as a form of pest control. Silk merchants would wrap their precious cargo with dried patchouli leaves to ward off insects and other bugs as they were transported to other parts of the world; the prized fabrics would arrive at their destination pristine and unharmed.
Today, the main growers of patchouli include Brazil, China, India and Malaysia. The oils are then exported to the rest of the world. Aside from being an incredible insect repellent, patchouli is also valued for its healing and medicinal properties. Some of the purported health benefits are that it improves blood circulation, alleviates depression and mood swings, encourages healing, is antifungal, reduces inflammation, and helps to lower fevers.
However, patchouli is, perhaps, much less well-known for its beauty benefits. As it turns out, there are many reasons to include patchouli oil as part of your beauty routine and here are six of them.
(Note. Always use 100 per cent pure essential oil when applying on your body. Also, some oils should not be applied neat; instead, use a carrier oil such as olive oil or jojoba oil to dilute the pure essential oil.)
Helps Clear and Repair Skin
Patchouli essential oil can help to regulate your skin’s sebum production. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that can help to prevent or alleviate any acne breakouts. The oil may also help to reduce acne scars (and other scars, in general) thanks to its amazing ability to repair and regenerate at a cellular level. To add patchouli into your daily skincare, add just one drop of it into about a teaspoon of your face cream. Mix well and apply on your face as well as neck.
It Is Anti-Ageing
If you are beginning to notice that crow’s feet and fine lines are etching around your eyes and mouth, you might find some comfort in the fact that patchouli aids with the growth of new cells and may be able to help with smoothing out wrinkles. You can even create your own anti-ageing skin serum by combining patchouli oil with other skin-loving oils such as frankincense and myrrh, and a carrier oil such as jojoba.
Speeds Up Wound Healing
Bumped your knee or scraped your elbow? You may want to have some patchouli oil in your first aid kit. The oil’s ability to regenerate tissues and skin cells make it an excellent treatment option for cuts and bruises. The antifungal and antibacterial properties can also help to prevent infections, which further promotes and expedites wound healing.
An Effective Moisturiser for Skin and Nails
When we spend most of our days in air-conditioned skyscrapers, it is not terribly surprising when we end up with dry skin and cracked heels. Patchouli has an amazing moisturising effect on your skin. You can drop it in your usual body moisturiser for added hydration and get your skin smooth and glowing in a jiffy. And you can find a sweet-smelling recipe and make a wonderful ointment that you can apply on your chapped hands and heels before bedtime. On top of that, patchouli’s antifungal and antibacterial properties can also help to strengthen and moisturise dry and brittle nails.
Clears Dandruff and Supports Hair Growth
For those of us who are experiencing thinning hair, it may be worth giving patchouli a try. This oil can help to keep the scalp in a healthy condition by keeping bacteria and other potential irritants at bay. A combination of patchouli, lavender, rosemary and cedarwood essential oils (along with a carrier oil) can be used as a treatment to promote healthier hair growth. Simply massage into scalp for a couple of minutes and leave on for a couple of hours. Shampoo well to remove the oils. Bonus: its moisturising ability also means that your hair will come out silky smooth and shiny (one quick and fuss-free way to get this benefit of patchouli oil is to add a few drops of it into your hair conditioner)!
Because of its antifungal properties, patchouli oil when combined with tea tree oil (another incredible oil that is antibacterial and healing) can also make for an effective treatment for dandruff.
Anyone with cellulite will tell you that it is a bane and practically impossible to get rid of. (If you are one of the few people who doesn’t have cellulite, you ought to thank your lucky stars!) One unexpected but welcome benefit of patchouli essential oil is its ability to resolve fluid retention and bust up annoying cellulite (and bring back smoother skin). The oil can also act as a diuretic and can help reduce puffy and dark undereye circles, and the general feeling of bloat that is caused by water retention.