Patchouli is one of those scents that people either love or despise. But from a therapeutic perspective, it is a wonderful oil for the skin. When choosing an oil to put into soap, we study the constituents to see what potential benefits might be. We then combine this with the latest research by the Institutes of Health, Pub-Med and the American Academy of Dermatology. A lot more research is needed on ALL essential oils, but there have been a few impressive studies of Patchouli and its benefits.
Where does Patchouli Oil Come From?
First, Patchouli is sourced from the leaves of the Pogostemon cablin plant (a perennial herb found in the tropical regions of India and Asia). The leaves and stems are used in steam distillation. Patchouli oil harvesting is the primary source of income on the Indian Island of Sulawesi. We source essential oils with an eye toward the producers who focus on sustainability as the demand for essential oils continues to grow. Approximately 1,000 producer families reside on this island and have been focusing on friendly agricultural practices. Like any other crop, if best practices are used, not only the amount of Patchouli but the quality of the oil can be enhanced. Every year, about 100 metric tons of Patchouli essential oil, so sustainability efforts are crucial to its survival.
Patchouli is an Indian name, meaning ‘Green leaf’ (Patch-green and ilai-leaf). Patchouli’s reputation is significant as the incense of the 1960s and 1970’s.70s. But Patchouli oil has roots that are deep in the field of Ayurveda Medicine for more than 5000 years. Ancient texts refer to this herb for treating multiple medical issues. Ayurveda medicine focuses more on the prevention of disease that treating it after already established.
As compared to the majority of essential oils out there, a quality Patchouli is a very dense (thick) oil. The denser an oil, the longer its benefits typically last. Premium Patchouli oil is also considered to be much darker and richer in aroma, having aged for a longer period of time. Due to its thicker consistency, Patchouli is absorbed into the skin at a slower pace than many other essential oils. While perceived by many to be negative, this is actually a positive trait of the oil. We view it as an extended release oil.
Why use PatchouliOil in Soap?
Studies in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014 have demonstrated that Patchouli can have an anti-inflammatory effect. A study in 2005, where 38 essential oils were tested for bug repellency, Patchouli placed very high in repelling mosquitos, moths and ants. If bitten by mosquitos, a couple drops of Patchouli mixed in the carrier oil of your choice, and applied to the bite will provide quick relief & healing.
So why use real Patchouli Oil in soap? It is expensive oil. Patchouli oil is an excellent tissue regenerator, helping to strengthen and multiple cells. It is perfect for skin wounds, scars, dry skin, and stretch marks. The primary constituents of the Patchouli oil bar soap are frequently beta-Patchoulene, beta-Caryophyllene, and alpha-Guaiene. These 3 components are the most cited in research for their soothing effect on the skin. Our sensitive-skinned customers have shared photos of severely dry skin improvement by using nothing but Patchouli Goat Milk Soap!
As for the scent, most people either ADORE the scent of Patchouli or DETEST it. It is frequently used in perfume blends and exotic incense. Woodsy, smokey with a touch of spice that is overwhelming for some. I must admit I was not a fan initially but have grown to appreciate the earthiness of a dark Patchouli. We carry the pure oil as well if you would like to add it to your medicine cabinet for the family. I highly recommend keeping a small vial on hand for hard-to-heal skin issues. Mix a few drops with a carrier oil and apply to the problem area over several days.