Botany: A perennial herb with a sturdy, hairy stem, much branched at the top. Leaves are opposite, with a fragrant odour when rubbed. It grows up to 1 m high. It is native to tropical Asia (especially Indonesia and the Philippines) and is extensively cultivated in the tropics (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, India, southern China; Seychelles, Brazil, etc.).
Products: Patchouli oil is obtained from the dried leaves by steam distillation.
The leaves contain 1.5-4% volatile oil that is composed mainly of patchouli alcohol (ca. 32-40%) and other sesquiterpenes. Patchouli alcohol and the sesquiterpene, norpatchoulenol, are mostly responsible for the odour of patchouli oil.
Antimicrobial activity (fungi and bacteria).
Pogostemon cabin essential oil has a strong and characteristic oriental and musty odour. It helps reduce skin oiliness, soothes skin problems and burns, reduces inflammation and is mildly antiseptic. It is very beneficial for the skin and may help prevent wrinkles or chapped skin. It is also said to regenerate tissue and helps relieve itching from hives and other pruritic conditions.
Patchouli oil is extensively used as a fragrance component in cosmetic preparations. It is one of the most used ingredients in perfumes (especially Oriental types) and also widely used in soaps and in depilatory creams (to mask the undesirable odour of the active hair-removal ingredients).
Pogostemon cabin essential oil may cause an allergic reaction.
It is important to mix patchouli oil with the carrier oil, such as almond oil or jojoba oil before applying to the skin.