patchouli for oily scalp
Photo Courtesy of Essenpure
Wildly misunderstood, patchouli oil is more than a fragrance for hippies, deodorants, perfumes, and incense. It is popular due to its strong and earthy fragrance, medicinal properties, and mood-lifting nature. Patchouli or Pogostemon cablin originated in Southeast Asia, but the cultivation of the perennial herb is extensive in lower tropical jungles. Patchouli grows to 3 feet high and has a strong stem with delicate hairy leaves. The oil is extracted from the leaves by steam distillation and harvesting occurs several times a year.   

Patchouli essential oil is one of the few oils that does not oxidize and diminish in therapeutic and aromatic quality over time, but rather improves with age just like a fine wine. Often associated with hippies from the 1960s, it is either a much loved or much hated fragrance that is earthy and quite strong.

Health benefits of patchouli oil

Patchouli oil has extensive has many medicinal properties that are beneficial to the human body and mind. It is an antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, deodorant, diuretic, fungicide, insecticide, sedative, and tonic substance just to name a few. Used in aromatherapy to uplift mood and drive away disappointment, it also relaxes tension in the vast majority of people. It is helpful for most skin types from dry skin to oily/acne prone and it is also a natural insecticide and adding a few drops to lotion or spray is great as a natural insect repellant.

Patchouli oil for your hair and scalp

Patchouli oil is a triple threat against scalp ailments because it is an antiseptic, astringent, and fungicide. All three properties are amazing for mild to severe scalp conditions like dandruff, psoriasis, and eczema. Patchouli not only relives wounds (including in the scalp) rather quickly, but it also prevents wounds from further infections. It soothes inflammations and protects wounds as an antiseptic and is quite effective at inhibiting fungal growth like ringworm or tinea. For the DIYers, a few drops of patchouli essential oil are great for scalp ailments like eczema and psoriasis. Here are a few simple recipes:

Patchouli oil scalp scrub

  • 2 drops of pure patchouli oil
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1 application of sulfate-free shampoo 

Mix the shampoo, patchouli oil, and baking soda in a small bowl and blend well. Apply to hair and scalp and massage gently in circular motion. You can continue to wash hair with the mixture before rinsing well and styling as usual. This is a great recipe for exfoliating and soothing the scalp.

For oily hair

I know it may seem hard to believe but there are some curlies who have oily scalps due to an overproduction of sebum. Adding 2-3 drops of patchouli oil to a nickel-sized amount of unscented shampoo and cleansing your hair will help to alleviate the extra oil on your strands and scalp.

For dandruff

Much like tea tree oil, patchouli is very effective for simple dandruff. Mix patchouli oil with a carrier oil and gently massage the scalp. Unlike tea tree oil, the smell is more pleasant and need not to be washed off immediately after use.