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Oil of the Month - January

1st January 2024

This month, our essential oil is magical Patchouli. Steam distilled from the leaves and the young shoots of Pogostemon cablin – an herbaceous shrub native to Malaysia, Patchouli has traditionally been considered important in Malay, Chinese and Japanese medicine being renowned for its, anti-inflamatory, digestive and antiseptic properties. The scent of Patchouli can be described as earthy, woody, pungent, musky, and penetrating, and people seem to either love it or hate it! In Western Aromatic Medicine the oil tends to be used primarily for care of the skin, and for its affinity with the nervous system.   


The Chemistry of Patchouli oil gives it primarily anti-inflamatory, anti-depressive, and antiseptic properties. Its primary chemical constituents are: Patchoulol - a sesquiterpene alcohol with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties; Alpha-Patchoulene - which exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics; Beta-Patchoulene - known for its potential anti-cancer properties; Norpatchoulenol - which contributes to the oil's distinctive scent and offers calming and anti-depressive effects; and Seychellene – which is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Physical Properties

On the physical level Patchouli is traditionally known for its skin care properties because of its anti-inflamatory and antiseptic properties. It is particularly helpful in the treatment of acne, eczema, boils, burns and impetigo when topical application would be indicated. Its affinity with both the digestive and the nervous system make it an oil that is useful in the case of stress related digestive disorders when the vagus nerve is not functioning correctly and food is not being digested properly due to a lack of stomach acid, resulting in gastro-esophageal reflux, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, or constipation. In this case internal use would be appropriate. It's a very good antidote to festive stress and overindulgence!


Emotional Properties

Patchouli oil is generally used for feelings of depression, anxiety, fear and nervous tension. It is also particularly helpful for those experiencing fear of intimacy, body shame, and self-judgement. Patchouli helps us to experience the body as sacred in all of its natural processes and funtions and helps us to release shame or feelings that the body is somehow dirty. It brings self-confidence and helps us to be fully present and at peace in our bodies, by calming the nervous system so that we can feel truly safe.


Selecting oils to work with that traditionally fall under the auspices of the current astrological sign can offer us the opportunity to heal specific aspects of ourselves in alignment with, and fully supported by the flows and cycles of nature, creating an alchemy between the plants, planetary energies and ourselves which can be deeply healing. On the 21st December, the Sun moved into the sign of Capricorn. Represented by the Water Goat, and ruled by the planet Saturn, Capricorn is an Earth sign with a somewhat watery feel to it. It’s qualities are practicality, perfection, groundedness, stability, determination and self-motivation. Native Capricorns or those with strong Capricorn placements are known for their hardworking habits, and are overachievers who make success look effortless — even though they have actually put a lot of time and care into their careers and relationships. Patchouli is traditionally seen to be ruled by both Capricorn and Saturn and so it can be seen to support these qualities in us on an alchemical level. Known as The Oil of Physicality, Patchouli supports us to become fully grounded and present in our physical bodies, stabilising the energy body, calming fear and releasing shame of intimacy. It is a beautiful oil to support Venus in Capricorn placements who often struggle with intimacy.  

Recommended Uses

Patchouli is an oil that is used topically, aromatically and internally in aromatic medicine. Try the following;

Aromatically: Place a few drops in the diffuser with any of its companion oils, in particular Grapefruit, Petitgrain and Cinnamon.


Topically: Place 20-40 drops in a 10ml roller and apply to the pulse points or over the heart morning and evening. For a soothing skin treatment mix together 10mls of carrier oil with a drop or two of vitamin E oil and 5 drops of Patchouli. Rub sparingly over clean skin morning and evening and leave to absorb.


Internally: Take 1-2 drops, 2-3 times per day in a capsule topped up with olive oil for up to 30 days to support the nervous system.

Plant Use: Dried Patchouli can be placed in sachets along with Lavender and Cedarwood to scent clothes and keep away moths. It is traditionally also used to burn in incense blends. Less commonly the powder can also be included in herbal capsules.

*This article assumes that you are fit and well and do not suffer from allregies or sensitivities. If you are experiencing a medical condition, check with your GP or Aromatic Medicine Practitioner before following any recommendations.

*If you plan to use essential oils internally, ensure that you are using pure, therapeutic oils and do not exceed the recommended dose. I tend to use doTERRA oils in my personal practice and with clients as they are certified as safe for this purose where appropriate.

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