Patchouli Essential Oil Relieves Depression
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
Patchouli oil comes from a species of plant with the genus Pogostemon; from the labiatae family, that includes lavender, mint and sage. This bushy herb has rigid stems, reaching two or three feet in height, and produces small, pale pink flowers. The plant is native to tropical regions of Asia, and is now extensively cultivated in China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mauritius, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The components of patchouli oil include alpha patchoulene, beta patchoulene, alpha guaiene, alpha bulnesene, caryophyllene, norpatchoulenol, patchouli alcohol, seychellene and pogostol.
Extraction of patchouli essential oil is by steam distillation of the leaves; the cell walls must be broken with steam scalding, light fermentation or drying the leaves. Patchouli leaves may be harvested several times a year, and when they are dried, they can be exported for distillation.
History of Patchouli Essential Oil
Patchouli comes from the Hindustan word “pacholi” meaning “to scent.” Indian shawls and fabrics were scented with patchouli oil in the 1800s.
There are several species of patchouli that are grown in different parts of Asia, including India, Indonesia, China, Brazil and Malaysia. The cablin species is commonly considered a superior species, especially for therapeutic use.
This well-known essential oil has a reputation as the scent of the hippy generation. The definition of patchouli in the urban dictionary, for example, is “a pungent scented oil usually worn by those who live an alternative or bohemian lifestyle, like artists, musicians, hippies, bikers and punk-rockers.” This reputation has caused some people to stay away from the smell of patchouli oil, as they relate it to a scent that covers the smell of body odor. Although it’s known for its use during the 1960s, traditional use dates back hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.
In India, for instance, patchouli oil was used in cloth and clothing because it works as a moth repellent. In fact, it’s said that the scent of patchouli oil became an indicator of true ‘Oriental’ fabric, and the English and French garment makers would scent their imitation products with patchouli so that the products would sell.
Patchouli oil is a highly valuable product in the fragrance industry and its quality changes depending upon raw material age and oil storage — so just like wine, patchouli oil gets better with age.
Patchouli Essential Oil Benefits
There are many amazing health and beauty benefits from just a few drops of patchouli essential oil, but for the purpose of this article we are only going to be discussing how patchouli essential oil helps fight depression.
Patchouli essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy because of its antidepressant properties. Because of the impact that inhaling patchouli essential oil has on our hormones, it encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine; these hormones ease feelings of anger, anxiety and anxiousness.
This is why patchouli essential oil is commonly used during meditation and prayer; it creates an atmosphere of tranquility. An easy way to experience this benefit is to add five drops of patchouli oil to an aroma lamp, oil diffuser or burner; you can even try adding 10 drops of patchouli oil to a warm bath.
Debra Mauldin, Certified Aromatherapist
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